Aktia Bank and the Savings Banks Group to serve as financial intermediaries in the EU-funded SME guarantee programme
On 8 December 2017, Aktia Bank and the Savings Banks Group signed an agreement with the European Investment Fund, according to which they will serve as financial intermediaries in the guarantee programme aimed at improving the availability of financing for SMEs.
Implemented as part of the EU’s SME Initiative, the programme will channel about EUR 400 million of new loans to Finnish innovative growth enterprises through the financial intermediaries by the end of 2020.
The first banks participating in the programme – OP Financial Group, Oma Säästöpankki and Nordea – signed the agreement in early 2017. Joining the programme with their total share of EUR 50 million, Aktia Bank and the Savings Banks Group supplement the guarantee programme so that the entire portfolio of EUR 400 million is now available for providing loans for SMEs. EUR 150 million of this sum has already been used for loans to SMEs.
- The SME Initiative is a marvellous example of cooperation between the European Commission, the European Investment Fund, the European Investment Bank and the Republic of Finland. It improves the possibilities of Finnish SMEs to secure financing on market terms, and will create work and growth to Finland, says Minister of Economic Affairs Mika Lintilä.
- The rapid launch of the SME Initiative is a clear indication that there has been genuine demand for this new instrument on the market. The SME Initiative has given us fairly good results during the past six months. Banks have been very active in granting financing. It’s great that Aktia Bank and the Savings Banks Group also join this programme, Lintilä continues.
- SMEs, especially growth enterprises, need financing granted on market terms to the greatest extent possible. It’s precisely for this reason that banks play the key role in the SME Initiative. It’s important that the private sector is also included in the most risk-prone projects of enterprises, Lintilä stresses.
- The availability of SME financing is fairly good in Finland. However, the picture changes when we examine the situation of rapidly growing and internationalising enterprises. The SME Initiative is targeted at these enterprises, which have had more difficulties in obtaining financing. This is how growth enterprises are brought into the sphere of financing. They are precisely the segment of the economy where innovation, renewal and value creation take place, Minister Lintilä points out.
Jukka Ihanus, Special Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs, tel. +358 50 463 9929
Jyrki Orpana, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 409 4457