The European Investment Fund (EIF) and Banque Populaire have signed a guarantee agreement to support lending to innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and small mid-caps in France. This transaction benefits from the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.
The new agreement will allow Banque Populaire to provide EUR 300m of loans to innovative companies in France over the next 2 years via its regional network of Banques Populaires. The loans will be guaranteed by EIF under the “EU InnovFin finance for Innovators” initiative with financial backing from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme. Thanks to this agreement, Banque Populaire will be able to offer new finance to innovative companies at more favourable conditions.
Pierre Moscovici, European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs, said: “Today's important agreement between the EIF and Banque Populaire is another concrete example of the impact the Investment Plan for Europe is having in France. The European Fund for Strategic Investments is already supporting several large infrastructure projects and thousands of SMEs all over the country, helping to develop renewable energies, regenerate contaminated sites for urban renewal, and improve the energy efficiency of our homes. I hope that many up-and-coming SMEs with innovative ideas will take advantage of these new loans, starting today."
EIF Chief Executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert said: “The agreement today with Banque Populaire provides a clear signal that EIF is keen to boost access to finance for innovative SMEs in France. The first EFSI signature in Europe took place in France and together with Banque Populaire we are hoping to help more growing and innovative French companies via the Investment Plan for Europe”.
EIB Vice-President, Ambroise Fayolle commented: “The Investment Plan for Europe is now accelerating: to date, the EIB group has approved more than 200 projects under EFSI, which are expected to trigger total investment of EUR 76 billion, or a bit less than 25% of the total target of EUR 315 billion. EIF, the institution promoting SMEs within the EIB group, plays a significant role in implementing EFSI, as reflected by the agreement signed today in Paris with the Banques Populaires. Innovation and SMEs are key drivers of growth in Europe and in France, and this loan illustrates the EIB Group's support to these objectives”.
Chairman of the Management Board of Groupe BPCE, François Pérol said: "Building on our long-term partnership with the EIF and through this agreement, Banque Populaire is proud to provide easier access to loans for innovative companies. Since 2014, the EIF guarantee enables Banque Populaire to provide the loan offer Innov&Plus to finance growth projects of any companies, from early stage to SME or Corporate”.
About the European Investment Fund
The European Investment Fund's (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. EIF designs and develops both venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment. More information on the EIF's work under the EFSI is available here.
About Banque Populaire
The Banque Populaire network is comprised of 16 regional Banque Populaire banks, Crédit Coopératif and CASDEN Banque Populaire. These independent financial institutions provide a comprehensive range of commercial banking and insurance services, building on the close relationships forged with their different categories of clientele.
Banque Populaire, which boasts 9.1 million customers (4 million of whom are also cooperative shareholders), 3,300 bank branches and 16 e-BanquePopulaire online branches, is a member of the 2nd largest banking group in France: Groupe BPCE.
About the Investment Plan for Europe
The Investment Plan focuses on removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The European Investment Bank (EIB) estimates that by February 2016, the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) triggered more than €60 billion of investment in Europe.