The FINANCIAL -- Erste Bank Croatia is joining the Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in order to boost local and regional trade.
The EBRD will provide Erste Bank Croatia with a €10 million limit to issue guarantees to confirming banks, thereby taking the political and commercial payment risk of transactions undertaken by the bank, and to provide cash loans to fund trade-related advances for the purpose of pre-export, post-import and local distribution of imported goods.
Trade finance plays an increasingly important role in fostering economic ties. Erste Bank Croatia has been appointed by its parent bank Erste Group to become the regional competence centre for the trade finance operations of Erste subsidiaries in the region thanks to its track record in trade finance. As the regional trade finance hub, Erste Bank Croatia will support the trade finance operations of other Erste subsidiaries by pooling financial and human resources, according to EBRD.
The EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme, established in 1999, aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the EBRD countries of operations and offers a range of products to facilitate this trade. Through the programme the EBRD also strengthens the ability of local banks to provide trade financing and to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the support they need to increase their access to import and export trade.
Vedrana Jelušić Kašić, EBRD Director for Croatia, said: “We are pleased to welcome Erste Bank Croatia to our pioneering Trade Facilitation Programme. Over the years the TFP has reached a total transaction value of over €12.0 billion and we are confident that our new partnership will lead to further expansion. This will also be good news for Croatia and the region, as closer trade ties mean stronger economic development.”
Erste Bank Croatia board member Boris Centner added: “We are extremely pleased to be able to continue our cooperation with the EBRD through the Trade Facilitation Programme, having previously worked together on the provision of credit lines for SMEs. What makes this framework arrangement particularly important for us is the fact that through it we have become Erste Group regional coordinator for trade and export finance in the following countries: Slovenia, Serbia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and, of course, Croatia. We see it as recognition of our professionalism and expertise, as well as of our achievements so far. The funds from this programme will primarily be used to back the export projects of our clients, which is important as exports have significant potential to boost the economic growth of Croatia. It is our strategy this year to put a very strong emphasis on backing and financing this segment of the economy.”
The EBRD has worked in Croatia since the country’s independence and has invested more than €3.1 billion in over 170 projects to date. The Bank’s activities include all areas of the economy and are especially strong in the infrastructure, corporate, financial institutions and energy sectors.