The European Investment Bank (EIB) announced today a EUR 250m SME securitisation agreement with Greece’s Alpha Bank S.A., backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the European Commission’s Investment Plan for Europe.

On the occasion, EIB President Werner Hoyer stated: "I am very pleased to be in Athens today for this landmark operation, which aims to restore access to affordable funding for SMEs and Mid-Caps. It does so by the EIB participating as an anchor investor in an SME securitisation transaction executed by Alpha Bank.”

The agreement with Alpha Bank was signed in a public ceremony in Athens attended by EIB President Werner Hoyer and Alpha Bank CEO, Demetrios Mantzounis.

The transaction benefits from support of the EU budget guarantee under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the financial instrument of the Investment Plan for Europe.

EU Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said: "Today's signature in Athens is another sign of the success of the EFSI in Greece benefitting in particular its businesses and SMEs. Greece has already done well to tap the financing under the Investment Plan for Europe and it is in all of our interest that Greece continues to turn the page towards sustainable jobs and growth. We will continue to support Greece on this path by increasing credit access opportunities."

“The successful completion of the SME Securitisation is an essential step to reviving Greek entrepreneurship and the economy. We welcome the participation of the European Investment Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and an International Investment Bank. Their participation demonstrates the confidence of the market in Alpha Bank and its business portfolio”, said Demetrios Mantzounis, Managing Director - CEO of Alpha Bank.

“This is the seventh EFSI operation the EIB Group has completed in Greece, bringing the total amount of approved EFSI operations to above EUR 800 million.  And it places Greece amongst the top four European countries benefiting from EFSI, per capita,” President Hoyer added.

“This underlines the EIB’s catalytic role and achieves a key goal of the Investment Plan for Europe: to crowd-in private investors, alongside the EIB’s own funds and the EU budget guarantee. This increases the positive impact on the real economy in Greece and supports job-creating businesses, as well as promoting youth entrepreneurship and employment. The transaction also marks the first step to assisting a major Greek bank to return to the capital markets,” President Hoyer added.

The agreement signed today incorporates the EIB’s "Jobs for Youth" initiative, offering competitive interest rates to enterprises that promote youth employment. The agreement will contribute actively and decisively to the strengthening of Greek entrepreneurs, the creation of sustainable development and the enhancement of youth employment.

The EIB launched the "Jobs for Youth" initiative, the Bank’s first ever dedicated lending programme to specifically support young people, in July 2013. Complementing youth employment policies at European and national level the programme finances vocational training, student and apprentice mobility, and aims to address the shortage of jobs for young people in smaller companies.