The social development bank for Europe
CEB and Cooperative Bank of Karditsa sign a loan agreement to support employment in Greece
15 June 2021
Athens – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Rolf Wenzel, and the President of the Board of the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa Coop. L. L. (CBK), George Boukis, signed today a €2 million loan agreement to facilitate access to finance for local MSMEs, especially the smallest ones. The signing was attended by Christos Staïkouras, Minister of Finance of Greece.
The CEB financing will help CBK, one of the six cooperative banks in Greece, to continue to support its business lending activities, particularly in Thessaly, the third most populous region in Greece, yet one of high unemployment, and to a lesser extent in the neighbouring regions of Epirus and Central Greece. Micro-enterprises, including start-ups, women-entrepreneurs, smallholders, cooperatives and social enterprises will benefit from enhanced access to finance.
At a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is putting strain on local businesses, by far the main source of employment in Greece, this first partnership between CEB and CBK will contribute to the development of existing and new enterprises in the region and, therefore, foster the creation and maintenance of jobs and social cohesion.
Minister of Finance of Greece, Christos Staikouras, stated: “The Greek Ministry of Finance welcomes the signing of this loan agreement between the Council of Europe Development Bank and the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa, to provide finance and support to existing local MSMEs as well as for the creation of new enterprises. With Greece entering the path to recovery from the pandemic, this partnership will reinforce the backbone of the local economy, provide opportunities for innovation and enhance social resilience in the region.”
CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “I am pleased to be signing today with the Cooperative Bank of Karditsa this loan agreement to support micro-businesses in Thessaly and boost economic growth in the region. The CEB has a long-standing commitment to providing financing for MSMEs, which has acquired renewed importance at a time when European economies are striving to put themselves back on the path to recovery.”
CBK President George Boukis stated: “The Framework Loan Agreement that we are signing today with the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) will be definitely an important tool for the support of MSMEs and will improve access to finance for micro-business in our region. We are confident that today's agreement between CEB and CBK will be the beginning of a fruitful cooperation in the mutual interest of local and sustainable development. I would like to thank the Governor and the CEB executives for the trust and support in our Bank.”
Cooperative Bank of Karditsa Coop.L.L. (CBK) was founded in 1994. It operates as a regional cooperative bank and provides retail banking services to natural persons, self-employed professionals and MSMEs, most of which are in the prefecture of Karditsa, part of the Thessaly administrative region in mainland Greece. The Bank dynamically supports the development of the local economy and is highly committed to fostering microfinance and access to finance of social enterprises. CBK is also a member of European Federation of Ethical and Alternative Banks (FEBEA), Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV) and European Microfinance Network (EMN).
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.