|Entrepreneurs in Romania will have access to more finance following a €5 million loan from the EBRD to MIRO Bank, the first microfinance bank in Romania. Through its branches in Bucharest, Brasov, Constanta, Cluj, Craiova, and Timisoara, MIRO Bank will use the loan to on-lend finance to local citizens across the country wishing to expand their businesses. The loan is being provided under the US/EBRD SME Financing Facility, a $150 million fund consisting of $50 million from the US Government and $100 million from the EBRD to support the growth of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, the Kyrgyz Republic, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia & Montenegro and Ukraine. A portion of the finance is also used to provide technical cooperation for institution building and training loan officers. Established in May 2002, MIRO Bank’s shareholders are the EBRD, the International Finance Corporation, Deutsche Investitions-und-Entwicklungsgesellschaft, Commerzbank AG, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden, and Internationale Micro Investitionen AG. Hildegard Gacek, EBRD Director for Romania, said micro and small businesses are critical for economic development in Romania and have proven to be dynamic and reliable partners for the Bank. The EBRD’s support for MIRO Bank has another important benefit – showing other commercial banks how financing micro and small businesses can be viable when appropriate credit technology is applied, she added. Ralf Niepel, Chairman of MIRO Bank, said the expansion of credit to MSEs through a tailored lending program underlines his bank’s commitment to this niche market. The EBRD loan should trigger further growth in MIRO Bank’s loan portfolio, as well as increase access to finance for many more micro and small entrepreneurs in Romania, he added. MIRO Bank provides micro loans for up to $10,000 (or the equivalent in lei or euro) with a maturity of up to 24 months. Small loans of up to $250,000 (or the equivalent in lei or euro) are made with a maturity of up to 60 months. All loans are provided on a commercial basis. As of the end of September, MIRO Bank had disbursed 6,472 loans for a total amount of $35.4 million, and the average outstanding loan amount is below $5,000.