The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting the expansion of international trade with a facility to National Bank of Greece under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP).
The facility will help National Bank of Greece to scale up its trade finance activities, despite the financial market conditions, and – reaffirm itself as a prime trade partner, supporting trade activities of exporters, importers and distributors of imported goods in Greece, according to EBRD.
National Bank of Greece is the oldest and one of the largest banks in the country. The EBRD became a minority shareholder in November during the recapitalisation of Greece’s four systemic banks in order to strengthen their capital base and to facilitate their transfer into private ownership.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti signed the TFP agreement with National Bank of Greece during his first official visit to Athens today and said: “Supporting the expansion of trade finance in Greece is critically important for the revival of the country’s economy. We are pleased to welcome National Bank of Greece into our Trade Facilitation Programme and strengthen our cooperation with the bank also in the area of trade.
“The programme will help National Bank of Greece to better meet its clients’ trade finance needs and further expand their activities which will benefit the whole economy.”
Leonidas Fragiadakis, CEO of National Bank of Greece stated: “National Bank of Greece, which has the lowest loan-to-deposit ratio among Greek banks, continues to finance the economy by developing new tools and partnerships with the aim of revitalising economic activity.
“NBG thanks the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development for the trust the EBRD has shown in us as the frontline bank in Greece, entering into a strategic partnership with us: We are ready to use our expertise and long-standing tradition in trade finance for the successful implementation of the programme. This will provide a lift to small and medium enterprises.
“It is important at times when the economy needs support to find new ways to strengthen export-oriented businesses of a new mindset and enable them to effectively undertake and align risk between banks and customers.”
The EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme, launched in 1999, aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the countries where 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 TFP currently includes over 120 partner banks in 25 countries where the EBRD invests, with limits exceeding €1.5 billion in total, and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.
The EBRD started investing in Greece in 2015 on a temporary basis with the goal to support the country’s recovery from its current economic crisis.
The Bank’s aim is to encourage foreign and domestic investment, strengthen the role of the private sector and deepen regional integration.
Facilitating trade relations is an important contribution to strengthen Greek banks’ and companies’ position in the international economy.