Belgrade - Today. U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) announced the launch of four new loan portfolio guarantees with ProCredit, Addiko, Banka Intesa and Raiffeisen banks, in partnership with the Serbian Ministry of Finance and USAID Serbia.
The DFC guarantees will catalyze up to $272 million for small and medium sized enterprises across Serbia, including women-owned businesses, businesses in rural areas, and farmers. The program will help Serbian companies access financing to grow by introducing new technologies, developing new products, and meeting changing market demands, both domestically and internationally.
“The launch of this loan portfolio guarantee is of enormous importance for the Republic of Serbia and its economy. We expect that this project will contribute to the further stabilization and strengthening of our economy and entrepreneurship in Serbia, after the corona virus pandemic and during the current global economic crisis. This project is proof that the American administration has confidence in the economic reforms we are carrying out in Serbia that have contributed to making Serbia an attractive investment destination. We believe that the launch of this portfolio guarantee proves the good and quality relations between our two countries, the Republic of Serbia and the United States of America, and that in the coming period we will have more joint high-quality projects,” said Siniša Mali, Minister of Finance.
Thanking the Ministry of Finance, the DFC and the banks for agreeing to establish this loan guarantee facility, Ambassador Hill emphasized the importance of such financing for Serbian businesses, “SMEs are really the heart of a modern economy. People with the capacity to come up with ideas and get those ideas to the marketplace and to move quickly with those ideas…. the issue is how to find the funds and how the process can be streamlined. Because if you have an idea on Monday, you better have an idea of how you’re going to fund it on Tuesday. If you don’t – someone else will,” said U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill.
By sharing the risk, the DFC guaranties will enable banks to lend to underserved businesses, institute longer term lending, provide better lending terms, and expand operations -- including in some of Serbia’s more underdeveloped regions.
DFC’s Deputy Vice President of the Mission Transaction Unit Maryam Khosharay said, “DFC is proud to partner with these four banks and USAID Serbia to support Serbian businesses. This partnership will unlock new financing opportunities for small and medium sized enterprises, strengthening the Serbian economy.”
Complementing the loan guaranties, the USAID-funded Big Small Business project will help identify the most promising entrepreneurs and businesses for financing, especially in less developed regions in Serbia and provide technical assistance to businesses, helping them meet the necessary standards to access the available financing.