Investment Plan for Europe: BPCE Group and EIF sign a new EUR 700m loan agreement for French SMEs

October 19, 2018

BPCE Group is once again demonstrating its commitment to businesses by signing a new guarantee agreement with the European Investment Fund (EIF), which is part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group. This is the third partnership signed with BPCE Group – the second-largest banking group in France – under the EU's InnovFin programme, which aims to facilitate access to finance for the growth projects of European companies. The agreement is also supported by the Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan).

A EUR 700m loan envelope

This new large-scale agreement will enable BPCE Group's two banking networks to better support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in financing their competitiveness and innovation projects until 2019. Around 3 000 companies should benefit.

The loan envelope – EUR 500m for Banque Populaire and EUR 200m for Caisse d’Epargne – is guaranteed by the EIF under the InnovFin – EU Finance for Innovators initiative. This initiative has the financial backing of the European Commission's Horizon 2020 programme, and is also supported by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), which is at the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe.

Supporting businesses is a key priority for the EIB Group. This is why I am happy that the EIF is renewing its partnership with BPCE Group with this large-scale support agreement making it possible to mobilise EUR 700m of innovative financing for French start-ups, SMEs and small mid-caps,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “The EU guarantee enables us to offer project promoters particularly attractive financial terms to assist their growth, innovation and competitiveness strategies. Our activities reach the very heart of regions such as Occitanie, where the EIB Group has financed more than 21 000 companies since 2012.”

European Commissioner for Economic and Financial Affairs, Taxation and Customs Pierre Moscovici commented: “This Juncker Plan-supported agreement is good news for French SMEs. It will help provide often decisive financial assistance for launching new projects, improving their ability to innovate, or going global. It provides further evidence of the success of the Juncker Plan, which has already mobilised almost EUR 57bn of investment in France (EFSI's biggest beneficiary in absolute terms) and supported more than 233 000 French SMEs.”

Laurent Roubin, Deputy CEO in charge of BPCE Group's Retail Banking and Insurance division, said: “On the strength of its long-term partnership with the EIF and as a result of this new agreement, BPCE Group will be able to redouble its efforts to provide innovative enterprises with access to credit. The EIF guarantee will enable its two banking networks – Banque Populaire and Caisse d'Epargne – to provide loans specifically designed for growth companies of all sizes, from start-ups to SMEs and mid-caps.”

Innov&Plus, a Banque Populaire loan specifically designed for companies’ growth projects

Created in 2013 by Banque Populaire, Innov&Plus is a loan specifically designed for companies’ competitiveness and innovation projects. It is targeted at mid-caps (with fewer than 500 employees) implementing projects related to, for example, production or distribution process modernisation, or organisational, commercial or marketing changes.

Benefiting from EIF support, the Innov&Plus loan offers attractive rates and guarantee terms for managers (a personal guarantee limited to 50% of the loan amount), while also making it possible to apply for further financing and public sector guarantees.

Banque Populaire has enabled almost 2 000 businesses to benefit from an Innov&Plus loan since 2014.

Supporting start-ups and innovative businesses with Caisse d’Epargne's Prêt Innovation

Caisse d’Epargne is also supporting and financing start-ups and innovative businesses with its Néo Business programme. It offers the Prêt Innovation (innovation loan) to finance any expenditure on tangible and intangible assets needed to launch, industrialise or market an innovative project.

It has a 50% guarantee from the EIF that is compatible with other public sector guarantee programmes, a maximum term of ten years (with a grace period option) and a maximum amount of EUR 7.5m.

Caisse d’Epargne has been enabling businesses to make their innovative projects a reality by granting 200 Prêts Innovation since 2017.

Groupe BPCE, the 2nd-largest banking group in France, includes two independent and complementary cooperative commercial banking networks: the network of 14 Banque Populaire banks and the network of 15 Caisses d’Epargne. It also works through Crédit Foncier in the area of real estate financing. It is a major player in Asset and Wealth management, Insurance, Corporate & Investment Banking and Specialized Financial Services with Natixis. Groupe BPCE, with its 106,500 employees, serves a total of 31 million customers and enjoys a strong local presence in France with 7,800 branches and 9 million cooperative shareholders. The senior prefered debt long term is rated by four financial rating agencies, Moody’s (A1, stable outlook), S&P (A, positive outlook), Fitch (A, positive outlook) and R&I (A, stable outlook).

The European Investment Fund (EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro-enterprises and SMEs by helping them to access finance. It designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth, and employment.

For more information on the EIF's activity under the Juncker Plan, click here.

The Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan) focuses mainly on removing obstacles to investment, increasing the visibility of investment projects while providing them with technical assistance, and making smarter use of new and existing financial resources. By October 2018, the Investment Plan had already mobilised over EUR 344bn of investment across Europe. Almost 800 000 SMEs have already benefited, including 233 000 in France.

About InnovFin

About the Investment Plan for Europe

About Horizon 2020