European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has become part of Bank for Business

Pristina, 27 June – the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has become part of Banka për Biznes – BpB as it decided to invest in this Kosovo bank by buying 10% of the shares. This decision has been assessed as positive development not only for the bank, but for the banking system

Signing of the agreement on the share purchase was done on Monday by the BpB General Director, Mr.Vullnet Latifi, and the EBRD Western Balkans Director, Mr.Henry Russell, in the presence of the Minister of Finance, Mr.Bedri Hamza, the Central Bank Governor, Mr.Gani Gërguri, and other officials.

The BpB Director, Mr.Vullnet Latifi, stated that reaching this stage required long, hard and professional engagements. “The most important fact is that a big and powerful bank such as EBRD makes its entry through BpB to the Kosovo market,” said Mr. Latifi. According to him, signing the agreement was done after a long period of cooperation during which BpB demonstrated seriousness and a professional approach, not only with this bank but with our clients and the market. “The first major success occurred during the previous year. BpB singed a loan agreement with EBRD, which included increasing capacities in the areas of business strategy, risk management, internal auditing, credit analysis, treasury and product development. Through this cooperation, mutual trust was expanded and enabled the cooperation to extend to other areas. This included a programme through which EBRD provides international guarantees for BpB. The first such guarantee was executed last week,” noted BpB Director Mr.Vullnet Latifi, adding that EBRD offers an OPPORTUNITY FOR MORE – as is the very slogan of BpB.

The EBRD Western Balkans Director, Mr.Henry Russell, stated that achieving this agreement with BpB was possible after several years of joint work by the two banks. “The professional work and management, as well as all the staff, of the bank is impressive, which enabled them to meet all the objectives. We thank them for their commitment and note that from now on we will be working together,” said Mr. Russell. According to him, at the moment 10% of the shares have been purchased, but this will be expanded in the future. “We will engage with our people and the BpB Board. What lies ahead for us is further advancement in the Kosovo market,” stated Mr. Russell.

The Minister of Finance, Mr.Bedri Hamza, assessed the EBRD investment as very important, not just for BpB but for the whole of Kosovo. “Signing of this agreement, i.e. the EBRD entry into the capital structure of BpB, is a demonstration of sustainability and stability not only of BpB but also of the wider banking system,” stated Mr. Hamza. Minister Hamza added that the Ministry of Finance and the Government have been engaged in the direction of creation preconditions for foreign direct investment in Kosovo. The Central Bank Governor, Mr.Gani Gërguri, said that the EBRD entering the Kosovo market through BpB represents a big achievement for the whole of Kosovo. “EBRD has entered Kosovo through a window and this represents a major achievement not only for BpB, but the banking and economic system in Kosovo as a whole. It is a good signal for other foreign investors,” said Governor Gërguri. According to him, in the past years BpB proved to be a solid partner and so EBRD decided to invest in its shares. “BpB has proved to be a credible bank in relation to EBRD and fully earned that it is becoming its part. We congratulate and encourage that after BpB, Kosovo will also be accepted in this powerful financial institution,” concluded Mr.Gërguri.

Banka për Biznes has experienced significant growth, especially over the last two years, expanding to 42 branches throughout Kosovo and employing around 350 persons in total. From the beginning of 2009 and until the end of 2010, the total assets of the Bank increased by around 70%, deposits by over 70% and credits by over 80%.

These growth indicators show that Banka për Biznes did manage to only increase the number of clients and the volume of business as well as its overall market share in the banking sector in Kosovo.