The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a loan of up to €5mn to UniCredit Bank Banja Luka in Bosnia & Herzegovina to improve access to finance for local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the bank said in a statement.
The loan is being provided under the bank’s SME Competitiveness Programme, through which local SMEs can access well-structured finance, as well as incentive grants worth up to 15% of their loan amount, making their investments more affordable.
UniCredit Bank a.d. Banja Luka will lend the funds to SMEs for investment purposes, so that they can upgrade their production facilities to make them compatible with EU standards in areas such as environmental protection, worker safety and product quality. At least 60% of the loans will go to investments that support the green transition.
“We are very pleased to sign this loan agreement today and support the strengthening of the real economy in Bosnia & Herzegovina together with our long-standing partner Unicredit Bank a.d. Banja Luka. Overcoming the Covid-19 pandemic means that businesses need to start investing again and this credit line will support local SMEs in making these investments and rebuild the economy stronger, more resilient, greener and more competitive,” said Manuela Naessl, EBRD head of Bosnia & Herzegovina.
“We are very pleased to confirm in this way our long-term cooperation with the EBRD, which has once again recognised us as a strategic partner in the local market. Since the beginning of our cooperation, we have secured €37 million through various favourable credit lines to support our clients and the community. The additional funding of €5 million will allow us to continue providing support to the local economy and developing the competitiveness and potential of local businesses. We constantly strive to do the best for our clients and the community,” said Gordan Pehar, president of the management board of UniCredit Bank Banja Luka.
UniCredit Bank Banja Luka is one of the largest banks in Republika Srpska, one of the two entities constituting Bosnia. The bank has 36 branches spanning almost all major cities and towns and 435 employees. It became an EBRD partner in December 2014. This is the third credit line the EBRD has extended to UniCredit Bank in Bosnia under the programme, said EBRD in a statement.
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