The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is partnering with Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG, a member of the RZB Group headed by Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), to expand access to trade finance through its network banks in Russia, the Czech Republic and Bosnia and Herzegovina, helping support trade and lessen the impact of the global financial crisis.
The addition of these Raiffeisen International network banks to IFC's Global Trade Finance Program is part of IFC's broader activities under the Joint International Financial Institution Action Plan targeting Central and Eastern Europe. Launched in February 2009 by the three largest multilateral investors and lenders in the region-the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank Group and the World Bank Group-the action plan aims to help private enterprises cope with the economic crisis by supporting local banking systems and increasing lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. Raiffeisen International’s banking subsidiaries in Belarus, Kosovo, Poland, Slovakia and Ukraine already participate in the IFC program.
“We are pleased to have three additional Raiffeisen International network banks join IFC's trade finance program,” said Herbert Stepic, CEO of Raiffeisen International. “This will further increase our capacity to provide trade facilities in the region, especially to small and medium-sized enterprises, and allow these three subsidiaries to gain access to the network of banks participating in the program.”
Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Global Financial Markets and Funds, said: “Bringing Raiffeisen's network banks into our trade program will help ease the crunch on trade financing in Central and Eastern Europe. We are pleased that our existing partnership with Raiffeisen is growing globally.”
IFC's Global Trade Finance Program supports trade in emerging markets by providing partial or full guarantees for individual transactions, using payment risk guarantees to international banks that issue financing to the local banks. The program helps banks boost their capacity for delivering trade finance in challenging markets where such financing may be limited. Since being launched in 2005, the program has issued USD 3 billion in guarantees worldwide through a network of more than 300 participating banks.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. IFC fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s new investments totalled USD14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Raiffeisen International operates one of the largest banking networks in CEE, covering 17 markets across the region through subsidiary banks, leasing companies and a range of other financial service providers. The group’s nearly 60,000 employees service around 15 million customers via more than 3,100 business outlets. Raiffeisen International is a fully-consolidated subsidiary of Raiffeisen Zentralbank Osterreich AG (RZB), which owns about 70 per cent of the common stock. The remainder is in free float, with the shares listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange. RZB is a leading corporate and investment bank in Austria and the central institution of the Austrian Raiffeisen Banking Group, the country’s largest banking group. www.ri.co.at