The adoption of the Recovery and Resilience Plan and the steps taken by the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria to submit it for approval to the European institutions in Brussels are positively assessed by the banking community in Bulgaria.
In the difficult situation in 2020, due to the initial economic shock of COVID-19, banks quickly and in a timely manner joined various types of government programs aiming at lending to individuals and micro, small and medium enterprises being in difficulty as result of the pandemic.
With their expertise and quick reaction, the banks participated in the coordination of the basic parameters for the programs to support companies and households and financial instruments, with their established partners, such as the Fund Manager of Financial Instruments in Bulgaria (Fund of Funds), the Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB), the National Guarantee Fund and the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group, including the European Investment Fund (EIF).
Thanks to the long-standing successful cooperation of the banks with these partners, as well as in a constructive dialogue with the responsible state institutions, the banks provided support to their clients at a time when they felt the most urgent need for liquidity and financing.
The publicly announced data emphasize the leading role of banks in meeting the demand for financial resources by the households and micro, small and medium enterprises.
Since the launch in 2020 of the BDB Program for portfolio guarantees in support of the liquidity of the enterprises affected by the pandemic, so far, the partner banks have granted loans for more than BGN 350 million to more than 2,000 micro, small and medium-sized companies. From 2020, so far, nearly 53,000 people have benefited from the BDB’s program for interest-free loans, and the amount of funds granted through the partner banks is nearly BGN 250 million.
Thanks to the signed by banks in the summer of 2021 agreements amending and supplementing the Portfolio Guarantee for overcoming the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic with the Fund of Funds, popular as the “Recovery” Program, a number of micro, small and medium enterprises – clients of the partner banks, received support for the recovery of their business activities. The limits of the banks under the so-called “Recovery” Program are running out, while most banks have already exhausted their limits on the BDB’s programs. Moreover, in October 2021 the Fund of Funds launched a procedure for a new resource under the “Recovery” Program.
The announced data by the EIF show that in 2020 the fund has attracted € 328 million in new financing operations for small and medium-sized enterprises, enabling almost € 1.8 billion to be provided to such enterprises, of which € 1.2 billion has been channelled to provide liquidity, especially in response to the coronavirus crisis. With the active participation of banks, the EIF instruments reach over 22,000 enterprises, approximately half of them are micro-enterprises.
The Recovery and Resilience Plan shows the active role that the banks will continue playing in the coming years to meet their customers’ demand for new investments, transformation, “green” and digital transition and business growth.
The banks are ready to continue their successful cooperation with the main providers of financial instruments and guarantee products in the country, as well as with the institutions responsible for the implementation of the actions and processes set out in the Recovery and Resilience Plan.