The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 13, 2001

Russia Small Business Fund of The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Fact Sheet
Russia Small Business Fund of The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)

The U.S. Government has announced its intention to contribute to the expansion of the Russia Small Business Fund of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and is working to secure additional support from other countries.

Vibrant economies are built with small and medium enterprises.  Small- and medium-sized enterprises account for 52 percent of total employment in the United States.  The Russian Government recognizes the importance of promoting small and medium business development.  Facilitating the provision of credit to small and medium businesses and overcoming the reluctance of Russian banks to lend to these businesses is key to the overall strategy.

The RSBF was created by the EBRD in 1994 to support the development of small and medium businesses in Russia with credit and training for Russian bankers.  It has been a valuable model for Russian banks and entrepreneurs and an important source of direct finance to small and medium businesses. It has trained over 800 loan officers and senior credit advisors in 70 cities from St. Petersburg to Sakhalin in the Far East and financed over 60,000 loans worth more than $650 million.

The RSBF consists of $150 million in grants pledged by the G-7 and Switzerland and $150 million in loans from the EBRD.  The EBRD money is on-lent to private businesses through Russian banks, while the donor funding is used for training bankers and providing technical assistance. To date, the United States has contributed $36.5 million.

On July 24, the EBRD Board of Directors, with U.S. support, approved the extension of the RSBF to 2010 and an additional $150 million in funding. Of this $150 million, $50 million is contingent upon donors agreeing to commit $30 million in additional technical assistance funding to train a further 400 loan officers and credit advisers in partner banks in 80 new cities.  The United States supports this extension of RSBF activities.

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