The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it is providing Erste & Steiermärkische Bank d.d. (Erste Bank Croatia) with funds to increase its support to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and to promote energy efficiency investments in the residential sector.
A EUR 20 million credit line will be extended to enable the bank to increase financing of small businesses which are important contributors to the country’s economic performance and a major employer, the press release said. Despite their key role for the economy, access to finance remains challenging, according to EBRD.
In addition, a EUR 10 million loan will finance subloans to borrowers under the Croatia Residential Sustainable Energy Financing Facility (CroSEFF). The EUR 60 million framework supports investments to address the high energy intensity of the residential sector in the country, EBRD said. Erste Bank Croatia will become the first local bank to join the CroSEFF framework.
Erste is the country’s third largest bank, with a market share of 15%. A credit line for MSMEs was signed in 2012, a credit line under the Western Balkans Sustainable Energy Finance Framework (WeBSEFF) followed in 2014, and most recently Erste Bank Croatia joined the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme, in May 2015.
The EBRD said it has been active in Croatia as an investor since the country’s independence and has invested some €3.22 billion in 178 projects to date.