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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has granted a EUR 60 million loan to MicroBank for financing microcredit in Spain. MicroBank will match this sum with the same amount meaning that a total of EUR 120 million will be made available to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

This new initiative, the EIB’s first of this kind in the European Union, will benefit entrepreneurs and microfirms and is aimed at facilitating access to long-term finance and fostering job creation, especially for young people and the unemployed. It is expected that the average size of the microloans granted by Microbank, which does not require a real guarantee on its operations, will be between EUR 15 000 and 25 000.

EIB Vice-President Magdalena Álvarez stressed “the importance of this operation, the EIB’s first of this kind in the European Union, as a model for the Bank’s strategy of supporting EU economies.” She added that “it is operations like these that make a difference for smaller businesses by providing a major boost to economic activity and employment.”

MicroBank’s CEO José Francisco de Conrado drew attention to the need for a quality credit offer that is sufficiently broad to meet the current financing requirements of entrepreneurs and microfirms presenting viable projects for creating, consolidating or expanding a business, saying “our highly specialised microfinance business enables us to improve management efficiency while carrying out an economic activity with a high social impact”.

This is the first time that the EIB has a provided a loan of this kind in Europe. MicroBank, the social bank of CaixaBank, is the only banking institution dedicated exclusively to microfinance in Spain.

This contribution from the EIB complements the support of its subsidiary the European Investment Fund (EIF) to MicroBank and builds on the efforts of other institutions such as the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) to foster the development of microcredit in the EU.