MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: the ASN bank lends 50 million dollars to EFSE for micro and small enterprises; Households in Europe, Western Asia

ASN Bank, a retail bank member of the Volksbank of the Netherlands, recently agreed to buy 50 million euros ($50 million) in notes from the European Fund for South Eastern Europe (EFSE), which provides investment and technical assistance to microfinance institutions as well as small business and household lenders in Eastern and South Eastern Europe and Western Asia.

Director of ASN’s sustainable finance team, Yvonne van Hoof, explained: “Thanks to this investment, we are finally able to improve the quality of lives of people and small businesses… to contribute to a more sustainable, safe and healthy world, where the environment is respected, both now and in the future.

ASN Bank’s objectives include “banking in a socially responsible manner and…promoting sustainable development”. Its parent organization, Volksbank, also owns mortgage lender BLG Wonen and retail banks RegioBank and SNS. Together, these companies serve 3.3 million customers with a balance sheet of 72 billion euros ($72 billion).

EFSE issues ‘long-term’ finance for micro and small businesses as well as households through partner retail institutions. EFSE also manages the EFSE Development Facility, which provides technical assistance, advisory services and training to support capacity building within these institutions. EFSE was established in 2005 by the German development bank Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) with financial support from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (also known by its German acronym BMZ) and the European Commission for the EU. Its list of investors also includes private banks, funds and family offices. Finance in Motion from Germany acts as fund advisor to EFSE, and the fund is managed by Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services, a Luxembourg unit of the German bank Hauck Aufhäuser Lampe Privatbank. EFSE operates in 16 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine. In 2022, the fund reports a portfolio of 1.04 billion euros ($1.04 billion) committed to 73 partner lenders, of which microfinance institutions represent about half.

Sources and additional resources

Finance in motion press release

ASN Bank Homepage

Volksbank homepage

Hauck & Aufhäuser Fund Services description

EFSE homepage

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