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Center-invest Bank is the Leading Bank for SME Lending in Russia

Following a study conducted in May, Center-invest Bank, based in southern Russia, tops the list of banks in the Index of Lending Conducive to SME Development in Russia.

This index is based not only on analysis of quantitative data, but also on the quality of services provided, such as business advice and training, loan products that promote business modernization, and opportunities for customers to work with international markets.

The study examined Russia’s 20 leading banks in the SME lending market. In terms of volume of lending in this market segment, Center-invest Bank ranks fifth in the country.

The experts behind the study note that Center-invest Bank has achieved the leading positions with a suitably broad range of loan programmes for small businesses, including attractive specific-purpose products and special offers. The experts highlighted the bank’s Start-up + Favourable Business Banking programme, as part of which the bank not only provides new businesses with finance for their projects, but it also offers business development advice.

Thanks to its Start-up programme, Centre-invest Bank has already provided 90 new businesses in southern Russia with loans totalling RUR130m. The bank’s Business Advice Centre regularly provides young entrepreneurs with free advice on business planning and tax and legal issues.

Under the Youth Business Russia programme, launched in March 2012, entrepreneurs aged 18-35 years can obtain three-year loans without needing to provide security or a guarantee. The maximum loan amount is RUR300,000 and the interest rate is 12% per annum. Loans are made on the basis of business plans that have been examined and approved by a panel of experts. As well as financial support, the programme also offers assistance from mentors.

As at 1 June 2012 Center-invest Bank’s SME loan portfolio was RUR21.5bn. More than half of the loans in our portfolio have been used to finance SME investment projects.

We account for 40% of the investment loans in the Rostov region, which is a reflection of Center-invest Bank’s role in the modernization of southern Russia’s economy.

The index is produced by the consulting firm Finist, together with the National Institute for System Studies of the Problems of Enterprise. (