PROCREDIT BANK ASSAULTS THE MARKET
ProCredit Bank launched activities with a flying start. In the first week of its operation the microcrediting institution set records in lending loans. Since October 15, when its first clients entered the new building of ProCredit Bank located in Hristo Botev boulevard in Sofia, till its official opening three days later, the credit institution had approved 85 projects, and 56 loans worth a total of BGL735,000. Within the same period 300 firms (in Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna) filed applications for financing.We expect to extend 500 credits to small businesses by the end of 2001, said the Chairman of ProCredit Bank's Management Board Christoff Freitag. The Director of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) Aftab Ahmed, who is a member of the bank's Supervisory Board, is sure that its shareholders will ensure the necessary financing for the development of its crediting activities.The IFC, which is a part of the World Bank Group, holds 20% of ProCredit Bank's capital. The other four shareholders - Commerzbank, International Microinvestment Fund (IMI), the German agency for encouragement of investments Deutsche Investitions und Entwicklung Geselshaft (DEG), which incorporated Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederafbau, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) - also hold a 20% stake each.The credit products of the new bank are distributed in three groups: ProCredit Dinamo - for microbusiness; ProCredit Business and ProCredit Development - for small and meedium-sized firms. The first service is intended to finance entrepreneurs with at least three month of market experience. Credits of BGL100 to BGL10,000 will be exteded for a period of one year at a mothly interest rate of 1.65%, and the decision for releasing the loan will be made within 48 hours after submission of the application and necessary documents.The third service - Development - is intended for financing investments, and the term for repayment of credits will be up to five years and a possibility for a grace period. The annual interst on these credits will be between 14 and 17%, depending on teh currency, the term, and the guarantees of the credit.Pro credit Bank will also offer opportunities for using international bank products and documentary operations. In this shre the bank will operate in partnership mainly with its shareholder Commerzbank, which is one of the top credit institutions in Germany. According to its Seniour Vice Chairman Jan Behle, the future of small and medium-sized enterprise in Bulgaria lies in the development of their international relations. Therefore, ProCredit Bank should ensure them high quality services in this sphere.