EIF and OP Financial Group Guarantee €200M in Loans for Finnish Green Transition

European Commission

The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the Finnish financial institution OP Financial Group have signed a guarantee agreement to promote the green transition and innovation investment, bringing approximately €200 million in additional financing to the Finnish market.

As one of the first transactions under the InvestEU programme signed in Finland, the guarantee will ensure access to finance for small and medium businesses and housing associations. The EIF guarantee facility will enable financing to be issued on favourable terms and support loans of up to €7.5 million.

Commissioner for the Economy Paolo Gentiloni said: “InvestEU is playing an important role in driving the green transition forward. This agreement is helping businesses and housing companies to accelerate the development of sustainable solutions and the digitalisation of products and services in Finland. I am delighted that it will enable small and medium companies to access the finance they need to innovate, expand and create jobs.”

“Risk-sharing guarantees provide solutions for two current challenges,” said Heikki Peltola, head of SME retail banking at OP Financial Group. “Finnish housing companies are in need of energy renovation, and we are facing a major energy transition. We believe it is vital that housing companies take advantage of the opportunity now and invest in the green transition by promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and low-emission solutions.”

OP Financial Group is the largest financial group in Finland and has extensive experience in lending to small companies, covering the country through its network of 108 cooperative banks. OP Financial Group has used EIF guarantee products before, signing the first guarantee agreement under the SME initiative in 2016, followed by an InnovFin agreement.

“OP Financial Group is a long-standing partner of the EIF and we are joining forces once again to help Finnish businesses and housing associations navigate the green transition,” said EIF Chief Executive Marjut Falkstedt. “Together we can help companies to finance their investment projects and achieve their growth ambitions, whether they are seeking to pursue a path of greater sustainability, boost their innovative potential or invest in digitalisation.”

The guarantee facilities are backed by the InvestEU programme, which aims to support EU policy priorities. These include promoting clean technology investments in Europe by leveraging an EU budget guarantee to crowd in funding.

Background information

The European Investment Fund is part of the European Investment Bank Group. It supports Europe’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments that specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF supports key EU policy objectives such as competitiveness and growth, innovation and digitalisation, social impact, skills and human capital, climate action and environmental sustainability, and more.

The InvestEU programme provides the European Union with crucial long-term financing by mobilising significant public and private funds to support a sustainable recovery. It helps generate additional investments in line with key European priorities, such as the European Green Deal, the digital transition and support for SMEs. The InvestEU programme brings together a multitude of EU financial tools and has three components: the InvestEU Fund, the InvestEU Advisory Hub and the InvestEU Portal. The InvestEU Fund is implemented via various financial partners. They will invest in projects by using an EU budget guarantee of €26.2 billion to mobilise at least €372 billion in additional investments.

OP Financial Group is Finland’s largest financial services group, with more than 2 million owner-customers and approximately 13 000 employees. It provides a comprehensive range of banking and insurance services for personal and corporate customers. OP Financial Group consists of OP cooperative banks, its central cooperative OP Cooperative, and the latter’s subsidiaries and affiliates. OP Financial Group’s mission is to promote the sustainable prosperity, security and well-being of its owner-customers and operating region. Together with them, OP has been building Finnish society and a sustainable future for 120 years.

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