Internationally active private companies across Greece will benefit from a new EUR 350 million trade finance partnership between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Citi, which was signed in Athens earlier in the day.
This signature is part of the new third extension of the EIB’s Trade Finance Facility (TFF) program for a total amount of EUR 550 million, and will directly support the trade and export finance services provided by participating Greek banks to local private companies.
The EIB’s Trade Finance Facility program, of which Citi has been the main partner since its initial launch in 2013, was developed specifically for Greece to fill a market gap that continues to restrict the international activities of Greek companies by offering guarantees commercial covering exchange rates, payment policies and risks. Greece is the only country in Europe to benefit from this initiative.
Following today’s agreement, in just a few weeks, private companies across Greece will have access to a new pool of €350 million in trade finance. This will be organized locally by Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and the National Bank of Greece, and will be guaranteed by the EIB and Citi, while other international banks are expected to follow for the remaining amount in this third cycle of the programme.
The EUR 350m trade finance was officially signed at Citi Greece’s Athens office by Emilios Kyriacou, Country Manager for Citi Greece, Cyprus and Malta, and Ioannis Kaltsas, Head of the EIB Investment Team in Greece, in the presence of Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of Greece and Governor of the EIB.
“Today’s new agreement, which marks the third extension of the European Investment Bank’s Trade Finance Facility (TFF) programme, will provide the necessary foundation for Greek businesses, particularly small and medium-sized ones, to size, improve their access to world markets. It will enable internationally active private companies across Greece to benefit from a new EUR 350 million trade finance partnership between the European Investment Bank and Citi. Under today’s agreement, three Greek systemic banks, namely Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and the National Bank of Greece, will actively participate in accessing this new pool of trade finance across Greece. I am pleased to highlight the commitment of international and local banks to ensure the outward-looking, expansion and resilience of Greek businesses and to support Greece’s efforts to further strengthen healthy entrepreneurship and its growth opportunities,” said Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of Greece and Governor of the EIB.
“Export-oriented businesses are an integral part of the Greek economy and expanding international trade is crucial for economic growth. Trade finance is essential for most international trade and the EIB is committed to working with international and Greek banking partners to overcome barriers to trade finance. The new EUR 350 million partnership between Citi and the EIB builds on the success of previous cooperation in trade finance and ensures that large Greek companies, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises, can improve their access to world markets. Today’s agreement demonstrates the clear commitment of international and local banks to ensuring that Greek businesses can expand their business opportunities and create jobs,” said Christian Kettel ThomsenEIB Vice-President in charge of Greece.
“Citi is committed to driving growth and economic progress in Greece, where we have operated since 1964, longer than any other international bank. The trade finance initiative signed today by the EIB and Citi demonstrates that we are a trusted partner in the country, where we provide concrete solutions for the economy and our customers. This program enables the international business operations of Greek banks and the local business ecosystem to contribute positively to the real economy of the country. declared Emilios KyriacouCiti country agent.
Since its launch in 2013, the Trade Finance Facility has provided successful support for trade finance transactions totaling nearly EUR 1 billion between 2013 and 2021. Enabling Greek businesses to access trade finance has contributed to both increased investment and job creation in the country. Citi was the main contributor of all Greek commercial banks involved when the Trade Finance Facility was launched in 2013.
The vast majority of trade transactions involve some form of credit, insurance or guarantee and companies soliciting international tenders generally require financial guarantees. The EIB Trade Finance Facility has provided significant support to enable Greek banks, which are best placed to understand local businesses, to improve the provision of trade finance services.
The new program is expected to be operational within weeks, and companies seeking trade finance backed by the new extension of the EIB’s Trade Finance Facility can contact one of the Greek banking partners directly.
Last year, the European Investment Bank Group provided record new financing of EUR 4.85 billion for public and private investments across Greece.