OPIC Loan to Expand Small Business Lending in Romania
April 1, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will provide a $25 million direct loan to CAPA Finance to support the expansion of lending to small businesses in Romania, mobilizing capital for a severely underbanked segment of the country’s economy.
CAPA Finance (CAPA) is the largest non-bank financial institution in Romania targeting the micro-, small- and medium-sized business sector, in both urban and rural areas. The OPIC loan will enable CAPA to expand the availability of credit among SME borrowers, as well as consumer and low-income mortgage borrowers.
The Romanian American Enterprise Fund (RAEF), an investment fund chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1995, is the U.S. sponsor for the project. Through its management company, Axxess Capital, RAEF works with companies, individuals and institutions to pursue investment opportunities in Romania. RAEF was authorized through the Support for East European Democracy (SEED) Act of 1989.
“This project will significantly expand the availability of credit to SME and rural borrowers in Romania, thereby augmenting the Romanian financial sector in an area of great need,” said OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “OPIC is pleased to support a project with so many developmental benefits for an integral part of the Romanian economy.”
“OPIC decision means to the company not only a financial support coming in a period when funding is scarce and expensive but also a confirmation of the good performance of CAPA and an incentive for us to continue with the company’s development strategy built on uncovered needs for financing small businesses” said Horia Manda, the Chairman of CAPA Board of Directors.
According to a 2005 World Bank study of financial markets in rural Romania, rural SME lending accounted for only 22 percent of the total potential SME demand for credit in the country. Only 19 percent of medium-sized and one percent of small enterprises used credit cards, the study found.
Founded in 1996, CAPA currently has a portfolio of loans totaling almost EUR 37 million and more than 9,000 customers.