Thanks to a guarantee, PCB will be able to offer up to EUR 6 million of microloans to Greek micro-entrepreneurs, with a focus on financing start-ups up to three years and new borrowers with a robust business plan.
A further senior loan up to EUR 8.75 million is expected to allow PCB to meet the demand of numerous micro-enterprises facing difficulties in accessing finance due to the credit crunch and the stricter eligibility requirements applied by the Greek banking sector. With a leverage of 1.5 times, PCB will generate up to EUR 13 million microloans to micro-enterprises.
Established since 1993, PCB has become the biggest cooperative organisation in Greece. Although the majority of its branches are located in Crete, PCB is likely to work in other parts of Greece, where it has some branches; the bank is expected through these two agreements to support more than 1000 microenterprises.
The European Progress Microfinance Facility (Progress Microfinance) is an EU microfinance initiative established with EUR 203 million of funding from the European Commission and the European Investment Bank and managed on their behalf by the European Investment Fund.
Progress Microfinance aims to increase access to finance for micro-entrepreneurs, including the self-employed. It has a particular focus on, but is not restricted to, groups with limited access to the conventional credit market. Examples include female entrepreneurs, young entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs belonging to a minority group, entrepreneurs with a disability, sole traders etc. Loans of up to EUR 25,000 are made available through selected microfinance intermediaries participating in the facility.
Progress Microfinance does not provide direct financing to micro-entrepreneurs or individuals, but it works through microfinance providers, such as Pancretan Cooperative Bank in Greece.