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The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Investment Fund (EIF) signed today agreements totalling EUR 280 million with Akbank, Denizbank, Halkbank, Vakıfbank, Yapı Kredi and Kredi Garanti Fonu (KGF) for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and micro-enterprises in Turkey’s least developed provinces.

The agreements consist of EUR 250 million in EIB loans and EUR 30 million in EIF guarantees. As the EIB partner banks will match the loan amount with an equivalent from their own resources, a total of EUR 500 million will be made available to SMEs.

This innovative SME funding instrument called the Greater Anatolia Guarantee Facility – GAGF (Büyüyen Anadolu’ya Kredi Kolaylıkları – BAKK) was devised in partnership with the Republic of Turkey and the EU Commission and major Turkish banks. Initially launched in July by the Turkish Minister of Industry and Trade, Mr Nihat Ergün, it will provide tailor-made financial help to SMEs and micro-enterprises.

GAGF covers 43 of the least developed provinces in Turkey stretching from Kastamonu, Samsun, Kayseri and Kahramanmaraş to Kars and Van in the East of Turkey, home to 25% of the country’s SMEs, which receive only 10% of the country’s SME lending.

SMEs in these regions will benefit from loans and guarantees provided by the EIB Group’s five partner banks in GAGF: Akbank, Denizbank, Halkbank, Vakıfbank and Yapı Kredi. The first-loss portfolio guarantees from the EIF are backed by EU funding from the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance – IPA. Additionally, micro-enterprises operating in these regions will benefit from a guarantee provided by the Kredi Garanti Fonu (KGF) for which a counter-guarantee is provided utilising IPA funds.

For EIB Vice-President Matthias Kollatz-Ahnen, “This is a major milestone which demonstrates our commitment to Turkey and its regions. This innovative financing tool is the first-ever large-scale joint effort using EU and Turkish resources to boost cohesion in the country.”

EIF Chief Executive Richard Pelly, added:  “The implementation of the programme in this part of Turkey is excellent news for the region’s small businesses in need of financial support.  We are partnering with an impressive group of financial institutions. I believe that this integrated GAGF programme will have a real impact on economic growth and job creation in the provinces targeted.”

About GAGF

GAGF comprises three main pillars: The first is a counter-guarantee agreement for EUR 5 million with the Kredi Garanti Fonu (KGF), which aims to reach around 1,500 micro-enterprises in the target region through financial intermediaries. The second pillar, with a commitment of EUR 25 million, is a direct guarantee provided to five partner financial intermediaries, namely Akbank, Denizbank, Halkbank, Vakıfbank and Yapı Kredi, which aims to generate an overall, new SME portfolio of EUR 500 million in the target region. The third pillar comprises EUR 2 million earmarked for capacity-building and promotion of the facility.  The EIB is contributing EUR 250 million in loans.

GAGF is co-financed by the EU and the Republic of Turkey under the IPA Component III – Regional Development and is managed by the European Investment Fund. It became operational following a contribution agreement signed between the Central Finance and Contracts Unit and the EIF in May 2010.