The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing trade financing facilities to Greece’s Alpha Bank and Kosovo’s NLB Banka Prishtina.

Through the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), Alpha Bank will get a €50mn facility to scale up trade finance activities to support Greek exporters, importers and distributors of imported goods.

The EBRD became a minority shareholder of Alpha Bank last year during the recapitalisation of Greece’s four systemic banks in a bid to strengthen the banks’ capital base and to facilitate its transfer into private ownership.

“Supporting the expansion of trade finance in Greece is critically important for the revival of the country’s economy,” says EBRD managing director for financial institutions, Nick Tesseyman.

“We are pleased to welcome Alpha Bank into our Trade Facilitation Programme and strengthen our co-operation with the bank also in the area of trade. The programme will help Alpha Bank to better meet clients’ trade finance needs and further expand activities which will benefit the whole economy.”

Meanwhile, the TFP also announced that it has provided a €5mn facility to NLB Banka Prishtina in Kosovo.

The funds will be used to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) trade across borders and is the first EBRD co-operation with the bank.

“Cross-border economic integration is one of the EBRD’s strategic priorities, and cross-border trade is especially important for Kosovo and the Western Balkans region,” says EBRD president Sir Suma Chakrabarti.

“I am happy that we are beginning our co-operation with NLB Banka Prishtina with a focus on this goal.”

The TFP was launched in 1999 to promote foreign trade to and from countries the EBRD is investing in. It provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors.