The Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Román Escolano, and the President of the Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO), Irene Garrido, signed today in Madrid an agreement designed to ease Spanish SMEs’ access to credit on competitive terms.

“Today’s agreement is a further step forward in our two institutions’ long and close cooperation in support of small and medium-sized enterprises, which are essential to boosting economic recovery and creating quality jobs”, said EIB Vice-President Román Escolano.

ICO’s President Irene Garrido added: “This agreement represents the first cooperation of this kind between our two institutions, and ICO is delighted to be taking part in this initiative. We believe that it is crucial to help the key players in our economy – SMEs and entrepreneurs – obtain access to competitive finance”.

The agreement sets out the terms on which ICO can grant up to EUR 1 billion worth of guarantees in the EIB’s favour to secure loans to Spanish intermediary banks on the institution’s favourable terms. The EIB loans will be earmarked for financing the investment, but also the working capital with a minimum duration of two years, of SMEs and midcaps in Spain.

Linked to a state initiative to promote the financing and globalisation of Spanish businesses, the agreement aims to channel EIB/ICO funds through virtually the whole Spanish financial system to reach a greater number of the country’s SMEs and midcaps, especially SMEs working with intermediary banks that have not received EIB/ICO funds before.

In 2014, the EIB Group (including the European Investment Fund) provided EUR 25 500 million in support of some 290 000 SMEs and midcaps throughout Europe. In Spain, the EIB made available EUR 7 603 million in new credit lines for SMEs, benefiting more than 62 000 such firms.