Boost for SMEs as GLS Bank invests €27.9 million in European Fund for Southeast Europe

GLS Bank has made its second investment in the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE). With its purchase of €27.9 million in EFSE notes, the bank is continuing to join forces with EFSE to ensure access to financing for micro and small enterprises and to support low-income private households in Southeast Europe and the European Eastern Neighbourhood Region, where it operates under the EU4Business initiative.

As Germany’s first social and ecological bank, GLS Bank has pursued its goal of generating positive social impact for over forty years. After its successful first investment in EFSE in 2015, this new placement will again be distributed to the bank’s qualified investor clients, effectively allowing them to share in the fund’s mission to promote economic development and prosperity in its focus regions.

EFSE Board Chairman Christoph Tiskens said: “GLS Bank is a valuable partner whose mission is very much in alignment with our own: making sure that small business owners in underserved areas obtain the funds they need to succeed, and that private homeowners have access to sustainable financing. We are delighted to announce the continuation of our successful cooperation.”

Christof Lützel, Spokesperson for GLS Bank, said: “Our partnership has proven to be very productive. We are pleased that we can continue to offer our investors a sustainable financial product that focuses on improving access to financial services in Southeast Europe and the European Eastern Neighbourhood Region. The fund reflects values that are highly regarded among our investors as well as addressing the investors’ risk profiles.”


The European Fund for Southeast Europe

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) was initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission. It aims to foster economic development and prosperity in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey, operating under the EU4Business initiative in the Eastern Partnership region.

As access to finance is a key success factor in developing the micro, small and medium enterprise segments, EFSE focuses on assisting local financial sectors in strengthening their ability to ensure adequate and sustainable financing. The funding EFSE provides as long-term finance is channelled to loan customers – primarily micro and small enterprises (MSEs), but also private households for home improvement – through local partner lending institutions. Supporting EFSE’s investment activities is the EFSE Development Facility, which provides partner lending institutions with technical assistance, consulting and training services to build operational capacities and professional management.

Under its EU4Business initiative, the EU channels support for the private sector in the Eastern Partner countries, working towards a better business climate while providing professional advice on business and improving access to finance for SMEs. The initiative aims to unlock the huge potential of SMEs in the region, thus boosting economic growth and creating jobs.