Thursday, December 15 2016 19:42
Alina Hovhannisyan

EBRD to provide $8 mln loan to ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank in support of private entrepreneurs including businesswomen

EBRD to provide $8 mln loan to  ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank in support  of private entrepreneurs including businesswomen

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a local  currency loan in Armenian dram equivalent to US$ 8 million through a  local currency financing facility to ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank  (ACBA), the press-service of EBRD informs. 

The funds will support the development of Armenia's private sector  with a particular focus on micro, small and medium-sized enterprises  (MSMEs) as well as women-led businesses. 

The equivalent of US$5 million will be on-lent to viable MSMEs, whose  access to finance, especially in local currency, remains limited. In  addition, the facility will support the development of women's  entrepreneurship in Armenia by on-lending the equivalent of US$ 3  million to women-led small and medium-sized businesses. 

ACBA-Credit Agricole is one of the leading banks in Armenia, with a  dominant position in lending to agriculture and MSMEs for rural areas  in particular. Its extensive network of 57 branches in all regions of  Armenia allows it to reach out to many potential clients  country-wide.

The EBRD Women in Business programme was created to strengthen the  role of women in the economy and to date has been rolled out  successfully in 25 countries where the Bank invests. It provides  access to finance through credit lines to local banks as well as  business advice, training and support for women entrepreneurs and  women-led enterprises.

The programme combines financing, technical assistance, risk  mitigation in the form of first-loss cover for local financial  institutions, and business advisory services to support women-led  SMEs. Technical assistance and advisory services are jointly funded  by the EBRD and the governments of Luxembourg and Sweden.  Mark  Davis, EBRD Head of the Yerevan office, said: "ACBA is a longstanding  client of the EBRD and we have worked on numerous programmes together  over the years. This is yet another project that can help us to reach  businesses in the region through ACBA's strong rural presence. The  EBRD is determined to improve access to finance for small businesses  and women entrepreneurs, especially in local currency. We are  confident today's loan will be very successful in reaching new  companies in every part of Armenia."

"We greatly appreciate this cooperation with the EBRD and consider  the Bank to be one of our most important strategic partners. This  loan will be directed to supporting women's entrepreneurship as well  as financing MSMEs and will enable us to expand our investments in  these areas. ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank and the EBRD have already  signed more than 10 agreements and I am sure we will continue our  effective cooperation," said the Chief Executive Officer of  ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank, Hakob Andreasyan, in a speech at today's  signing.

Since the start of its operations in Armenia in 1992, the EBRD has  invested over ?1.11 billion in 153 projects in the country's  financial, corporate, infrastructure and energy sectors, with 88 per  cent of these investments being in the private sector.

According to the Financial Ranking of Armenian Banks prepared by  ArmInfo as of October 1, 2016 lending to SMEs totaled 18% or $69 mln  of the total loan portfolio of the bank. In the banks' total lending  to SME the ACBA Credit Agricole Bank's share exceeds 6%.  To recall,  "ACBA-Credit Agricole Bank" CJSC has been operating in Armenia since  1995.  Since September 2006, the majority shareholders of the Bank  have been Credit Agricole S.A. (15.56%) and SJSC "Sacam  International" (part of Credit Agricole S.A - 12.44%).  Along with  them, 10 agricultural cooperative unions hold shares in the capital  of ACBA- Credit Agricole Bank. By the coverage of the branch network  and the number of regional branches, the Bank holds the second  position.  According to the key balance sheet figures, ACBA-Credit  Agricole Bank is in the TOP-5.

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