Sorainen Belarus office acted as legal counsel for the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), the world’s largest microfinance investment fund, on signing a senior loan agreement with Belgazprombank enabling Belgazprombank to borrow USD 30 million from EFSE to expand its housing finance operations and increase lending to micro- and small businesses in Belarus. The most significant feature of this foreign investment is the first-time availability of a USD 15 million 9-year housing finance tranche, the first of its kind and unprecedented event for the Belarus banking system.
ЕFSE was established in 2005 to foster development of the region, providing sustainable, long-term funding to qualified local financial institutions in Southeast Europe for on-lending to micro and small enterprises (SME) and private households. International investors in the Fund include the European Union, the governments of Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and international financial institutions such as the KfW, IFC and FMO. Belgazprombank is a prominent Belarusian bank, controlled by Gazprom group, with a leading position in financing in the private sector, small and middle size business and retail.