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Sep 10, 2007 15:09 EEST
September 10 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Monday it lent 2.25 million euro ($3.10 million) to Romanian microfinance provider Express Finance to support micro enterprises and start-up businesses.
Through its branch network nationwide, Express Finance will use the loan to on-lend to local enterprises wishing to start up or expand their businesses, EBRD said in a statement.
The micro credit products offered by Express Finance will address mainly investment projects, livestock, service sector projects, working capital and purchase of cars, vans, trucks or equipment to conduct business, Express Finance said in a separate statement. The amount of a single loan will range from 1,000 to 25,000 euro for a period of up to 36 months.
"In the next years, Express Finance plans to increase the total number of loans disbursed to 21,750 and the volume of loans to 110 million euro, by focusing its activity to the low-income segment of the market", Silke Mueffelmann, general director of Express Finance told a news conference. "The average loan amount will be around 5,000 euro and by opening five new offices Express Finance will increase its coverage to over 70% of Romania."
The loan comes under the 88 million euro Romania Micro Credit Facility which was launched by the EBRD, the European Union and the Romanian government in 2006 with the aim to provide lending to non-bank microfinancing institutions and commercial banks servicing the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises sector (MSMEs), EBRD said.
By the end of 2006, Express Finance has disbursed more than $47 million in over 11,800 loans with the average amount of loans below $4,000. To date, the EBRD has investments of more than 215 million euro in the MSME sector in Romania, it said.
Express Finance is majority owned by the U.S. non-governmental organisation Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) International.
($ = 0.7249 euro)
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