The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 50 million loan to the Instituto de Finanzas de Cantabria (ICAF) mainly for financing the investment projects of the region’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This EIB loan will be matched with the same amount, meaning that a total of EUR 100 million will be made available to Cantabria’s small businesses.

The loan agreement was signed in Santander by EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez Arza and Cantabria’s Finance Minister and CEO of ICAF, Cristina Mazas Pérez Oleaga, in the presence of the President of the Cantabria Region, Ignacio Diego Palacios.

At the signing ceremony, the EIB Vice-President said that “by signing this loan the European Investment Bank wishes to take forward its support for Spain’s small and medium-sized businesses, the true backbone of the country’s productive fabric and the key to economic recovery and employment. This agreement will also enable us to strengthen our relations with the Cantabria Region and ensure the broad sectoral and geographical coverage of the EIB’s financial resources”

This credit line, which meets the EIB’s objective of supporting the development of small and medium-sized businesses, is the first operation specifically targeting SMEs mounted with ICAF. The EIB provides loans on preferential terms including longer maturities, more flexible disbursement schedules and lower interest rates than alternative sources of credit. These favourable terms are then passed on to the end borrowers.

Supporting small and medium-sized businesses is an EIB priority. In 2012, the Bank provided EUR 2 875 million for new credit lines designed to finance the investment projects of SMEs and midcaps in Spain.