The first Bulgarian banks that have signed agreements to grant favorable loans to businesses by the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI), known as the Juncker plan, are already starting to provide loans to small and medium enterprises.
Three banks have entered into agreements for the distribution of funds for innovative projects under the guarantee mechanism InnovFin, as is the working name of the initiative. These are EIBANK, which will allocate 100 million euros to SME for innovative projects and Raiffeisenbank with 35 million for industries with high added value. The ProCredit group will allocate 20 million for businesses in Greece, and the process will be managed by the Bulgarian subsidiary ProCredit Bulgaria.
As of May 16, 2016 Bulgarian Raiffeisenbank clients - small and medium companies - have received nearly 2 million for 6 innovative projects.
EIBANK is currently not utilizing InnovFin, but it had funded 200 projects for 36 million at the end of March 2016 under another important program of the European Commission - COSME, reported Dr. Kiril Velichkov, head of European projects and financial institutions department of the bank. Interest in the mechanism of EFSI is growing, as are the projects, with each passing day according to bankers familiar with European funding. The agreement with ProCredit is actually the first transaction within InnovFin in Greece, said Borislav Kostadinov, member of the Management Board of ProCredit Holding, at the signing in Thessaloniki.
The plan will mobilize 315 billion for projects in EU countries that bear returns. As at May 9, 2016, 82.1 billion is already being used to fund projects in Europe.