UniCredit Bank announced that, following the signing of a guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF) in May 2017
, it had started lending investment loans and loans for working assets to small and medium enterprises in the total amount of EUR 100 million.
– Thanks to the support of the EIF through the COSME program, UniCredit Bank is able to support a large number of small and medium enterprises in Serbia by offering them not just more favorable crediting, but reduced collateral requirements and longer repayment periods as well.
The Ministry of Economy is in charge of coordinating the activities within the COSME program, and the aim is for the program to contribute to a better promotion of entrepreneurship, a facilitated access to finance and an enhancement of internationalization and competitiveness of SMEs.
Assistant to the minister of economy, Katarina Obradovic Jovanovic, stated that she was glad that banks were increasingly more interest in utilizing guarantee schemes within the COSME program, all to the end of providing better conditions for financing small and medium enterprises.
– On its part, the Ministry of Economy will, as always, do everything in its power to have Serbia continue taking part in the COSME program. We will be paying the membership fee which allows banks to use the advantages of this program. We hope that this arrangement of UniCredit Bank will be realized soon as well and that it will set an example to be followed by other banks – Obradovic Jovanovic said.
The maximum amount SMEs can apply for is EUR 150,000. When it comes to loans for working assets, the repayment period ranges from 37 to 42 months, whereas a promissory note is the only security instrument. On the other hand, investment loans are approved with only a 5% participation for a period of 61 to 84 months, with mortgage, that is, collateral claims against the object of finance.
Csilla Ihasz, head of the Executive Board of UniCredit Bank, stated that the bank was aware of the importance of the SME sector as the key driving force of economic development and employment, especially in developing economies.
– This is precisely the reason why small and medium companies have been central to our business model for a long time now. Thanks to the COSME program, we can now contribute to a better utilization of the development potential of this vital segment of the economy – she said.