>@EIB/To be defined

Crédit Coopératif Group and the European Investment Bank (EIB) concluded a new financing agreement on 13 May 2014. The contract, which was signed by Crédit Coopératif Group President Jean-Louis Bancel and EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive, opened a credit line providing an additional EUR 100m to support small and medium-scale projects in France.  

This loan follows on from the successful historic partnership between the two banks: 14 financing operations have been agreed between the EIB and Crédit Coopératif since 1982, the last two being signed in 2009 (for EUR 150m) and 2012 (for EUR 100m). Over the period 2009–2013 alone, a total of more than 500 firms received this financial assistance.

As before, non-profit-making associations and other entities employing fewer than 250 staff will also be eligible for such loans and the favourable financial terms attached to them, which will make it possible to support projects in such varied areas as health, social housing, education, international solidarity, culture, the environment, provident schemes and even sport.

EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive welcomed this new agreement with the following words: "In the context of the search for competitiveness and economic stimulus, the EIB has made support for SMEs and the social economy a priority. Crédit Coopératif has demonstrated its effectiveness in managing loans for SMEs granted by the Bank and I am therefore particularly glad to be signing today the next instalment in our partnership. By combining European finance and local expertise, we will be able to provide entrepreneurs in France with effective support. Together, we will act to create employment in the heart of the regions."

Crédit Coopératif's President Jean-Louis Bancel added: "Crédit Coopératif is proud of the continuity of its historic partnership with the EIB, which supports its operations in favour of the real economy and those that create jobs in our regions. For more than 120 years Crédit Coopératif has been involved in financing SMEs, micro-enterprises and general interest organisations that create lasting economic strength."

Given the current economic climate and the growing demand from French companies for competitive finance, the EIB Group has stepped up its activities in support of SMEs. In 2013 the Group channelled EUR 1.34bn of finance into this sector. Thanks to the leverage effect, investment totalling no less than EUR 5.6bn was able to be carried out by more than 150 000 French SMEs and micro-enterprises in 2013.