The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Pancretan Cooperative Bank have signed a microfinance guarantee agreement aimed at supporting more than 1,000 micro-enterprises in Crete, Athens and Thessaloniki, under the EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI).
The EaSI agreement allows Pancretan Cooperative Bank to provide a total of 15 million euros to over 1,000 micro-entrepreneurs over five years, many of whom face difficulties in accessing credit from traditional banking sources. Pancretan Cooperative Bank will primarily target unemployed borrowers aiming to start a new business. Micro-borrowers will be able to benefit from loans at a reduced interest rate, without providing collateral under the EU-supported programme.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, said: “With this agreement, we show our commitment to contributing to the Greek economic recovery, by giving more than 1,000 small enterprises the tools to develop their activity and create jobs.”
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “Creating jobs and growth lies at the heart of EIF’s strategy and this new microfinance transaction with Pancretan Cooperative Bank helps us to achieve this aim. Access to finance is often the missing piece of the puzzle for micro-businesses and I am confident that Pancretan Cooperative Bank will be successful in giving aspiring entrepreneurs an opportunity to achieve their goals.”
Vice President of Pancretan Cooperative Bank, Nikos Myrtakis, said: “With the first pilot cooperation between Pancretan Bank and the European Investment Fund, through a 2.5 million euros program for guarantees to micro-enterprises, we succeeded in significantly contributing to the creation or continuation of almost 200 viable and competitive enterprises and simultaneously acquired valuable knowhow for their support. Through the new program of 15 million we are ready to reach out to more than 1,000 small enterprises which face difficulties in accessing bank financing. Our target is to support innovative ideas and competitive business plans. We thank once again the European Commission and EIF for their trust in our Bank.”