Monday, March 30, 2009

EBRD grants Romania's BCR 100 mln euro loan

BUCHAREST, March 30 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development granted a 100 million euro ($132.3 million) loan to Romania's largest bank BCR on Monday to finance small and medium companies, the banks said. 

The loan is part of a two-year, 24.5 billion euro joint programme announced last month by the World Bank, the EBRD and the European Investment Bank to help banks and firms in eastern Europe to cope with the global cash squeeze.

"BCR is also in discussions with the other international financial institutions on additional possibilities to support its lending to the real economy, particularly to the small- and medium-enterprises sector," the banks said in a joint statement. 

Economists' concerns centre around Romania's reliance on external borrowing and that the region's largely foreign-owned banks could shut off lending due to the global credit crunch and their need for money at home.

BCR is controlled by Austria's Erste Bank , which has pledged along with eight other foreign banks in Romania to continue doing business in the junk-rated country and promised to provide additional capital if needed.

EBRD will also increase its investments plans in Romania by 500 million euros to 1 billion euros over the next two years as part of an IMF-led 20 billion euros aid package for the Black Sea state, aimed as a cure for the country's large private debt.

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