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 today.
This signature comes under the new third expansion of the EIB’s Trade Finance Facility (TFF) programme of a total of EUR 550 million, and will directly support the trade and export finance services provided by participating Greek banks to local private companies.
EIB’s Trade Finance Facility programme, to which Citi has been the leading partner since its initial launch in 2013, was developed especially for Greece to address a market gap that continues to restrict international business for Greek companies by offering trade guarantees covering exchange rate, political and payment risks. Greece is the only country in Europe benefiting from this initiative.
Following today’s agreement, in just a few weeks private companies across Greece will get access to a new pool of EUR 350 million trade financing. This will be organised locally by Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and the National Bank of Greece, and will be guaranteed by the EIB,and Citi, while other international banks may be expected to follow for the remaining amount in this third cycle of the programme.
The EUR 350 million trade finance was formally signed at Citi Greece office in Athens by Emilios Kyriacou, Citi Country Officer Greece, Cyprus, and Malta, and Ioannis Kaltsas, the Head of the EIB’s Investment Team Greece, in the presence of Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of Greece and EIB governor.
“Today’s new agreement, marking the third expansion of the European Investment Bank’s Trade Finance Facility (TFF) program, will provide the necessary basis in order for Greek companies, in particular of small and medium size, to enhance their access to global markets. It will allow internationally active private companies across Greece to benefit from a new EUR 350 million trade finance partnership between the European Investment Bank and Citi. In the framework of today’s agreement, three Greek systemic banks, namely Eurobank, Piraeus Bank and the National Bank of Greece, will be actively involved in providing access to this new pool of trade financing across Greece. I am pleased to remark the commitment of international and local banks to ensuring the extroversion, expansion and resilience of Greek companies and to supporting Greece’s effort towards further enhancing healthy entrepreneurship and its growth opportunities” stated Christos Staikouras, Minister of Finance of Greece and EIB Governor.
“Export focused companies are an integral part of the Greek economy and expanded 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 trade finance barriers. The new EUR 350 million partnership between Citi and the EIB builds on the success of previous trade finance cooperation and ensure that leading Greek companies, in particular of small and medium size, can enhance access to global markets. Today’s agreement demonstrates the clear commitment of international and local banks to ensuring that Greek companies can expand business opportunities and create jobs” said Christian Kettel Thomsen, EIB Vice President responsible for Greece.
“Citi is committed to enabling growth and economic progress in Greece, where we have been operating since 1964, longer than any other international bank. The Trade Finance Initiative signed today by EIB and Citi testifies to our being a trusted partner in the country, where we deliver tangible solutions for the economy and our clients. This programme enables the international trade business operations of the Greek banks, and the local business ecosystem, positively contributing to the country’s real economy.” stated Emilios Kyriacou, Citi Country Officer.
Since its launch in 2013, the Trade Finance Facility has ensured successful support for trade finance transactions totalling almost EUR 1 billion between 2013 and 2021. Enabling Greek companies to access trade finance has contributed to both increased investment and job creation in the country. Citi has been the leading contributor to all Greek commercial banks involved when the Trade Finance Facility was first launched in 2013.
The vast majority of trade transactions involve some form of credit, insurance or guarantee and companies seeking international tenders usually require financial guarantees. The EIB Trade Finance Facility has demonstrated significant support to enable Greek banks, who are best placed to understand local companies, and enhance provision of trade finance services.
The new programme is expected to be operational in a few weeks’ time, and companies seeking trade financing supported by the new extension of the EIB Trade Finance Facility can contact one of the Greek banking partners directly.
Last year the European Investment Bank Group provided a record EUR 4.85 billion of new financing for public and private investment across Greece.