The FINANCIAL — Strengthening the integration of the Cypriot economy through the expansion of trade the EBRD is providing a €10 million trade finance facility to Alpha Bank Cyprus for guarantees in favour of confirming banks to cover the political and commercial risk of trade finance instruments issued by the bank to facilitate foreign trade finance activities.
Alpha Bank Cyprus is a commercial bank offering a full range of banking services in the local market. The small scale of the domestic market makes trade and export competitiveness a major task for Cypriot business. For this the support of the financial sector with products tailored to market demand is key, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), according to EBRD.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said at the signing in Nicosia today: “This is a very important step to widen and deepen our engagement in Cyprus and we are especially proud to sign the agreement today in the context of our 2017 Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Cyprus. We expect the facility to strengthen Alpha Bank Cyprus’ position in the market, especially by supporting ‘Green Trade Finance’ and facilitating SMEs access to finance.”
Mr Koutentakis, Alpha Bank Cyprus Managing Director added: “Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd enters into this Trade Finance Programme with a view to expand its business, supporting its Customers in the context of their international trade finance transactions, through cost efficient alternatives and innovative solutions. We are confident that our valuable alliance with EBRD will contribute to the strengthening and the expansion of our Customers’ activities”.
The EBRD’s Trade Finance Programme (TFP), launched in 1999, aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the countries in which the EBRD invests. Through the Programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors.
The EBRD’s TFP currently includes 96 partner banks in 26 countries where the EBRD invests, with limits exceeding €1.5 billion in total and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.
In Cyprus limits for four local banks for a total of almost €100 million have been extended to date. The TFP has supported a large range of international and intra-regional trade transactions, among them the export of construction services, the import of industrial equipment and electrical devices as well as the import of capital goods, construction equipment, vehicles, household products, food and electrical goods.
Supporting environmentally friendly development the EBRD launched its “Green TFP” in 2016 as a new concept under the Trade Facilitation Programme. Green TFP facilities have similar terms and conditions than other TFP facilities but are available only for the financing of exports, imports and local distribution of imported green technologies and services. In May 2017 “Green TFP” won the “innovative product” prize by the leading business and finance publication Global Finance.
Through its TFP, the EBRD not only stimulates regional business, but also provides a unique knowledge-sharing platform for market professionals. To date, over 100 Cypriot bankers have received scholarships to participate in the EBRD’s Trade Finance e-Learning programme. The graduates from Cyprus were among the top 25 individuals who completed the online Trade Finance e-Learning training in 2016.