15th November  2013

Mediterranean Bank Network organised a workshop highlighting the need to improve the access to finance for Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) within the European and Mediterranean region. The event was held in collaboration with the Malta Business Bureau on the 15th November 2013 at the MBB’s Brussels Office.

Attendees included high profile speakers such as Dr Rym Ayadi, President of the Euro-med Economists Association; Mr Francis Malige, Director at the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development; Ms Iwona Martin representing Eurochambres; Dr Joanna Drake, Director for SME Policy and Entrepreneurship within the European Commission; Mr Bruno Robino, Head of Region for Southern Countries within European Investment Fund; Mr Adam Abdulwahab, representing DG REGIO; Dr Leonard Mizzi, from the European Commission; Dr Caroline Gourisse from the European Savings Bank Grouo ; Dr. Bertram Reddig, Head of EuropaService/Promotional Finance, Deutscher Sparkassen und Giroverband and also representatives from the Mediterranean Bank Network member banks; Mr Houssein Mouelhi, Director General, Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne, Tunisia; Mr Josep Oriol, Head of International Financial Institutions, Banco Sabadell, Spain; Mr Albert Frendo, Chief Officer Credit, Bank of Valletta, Malta; Mr Mohammed Zine, Risk Management Chief Officer at Banque Centrale Populaire, Morocco.

The event was chaired by Mr Peter Sant from Bank of Valletta, who also delivered a presentation on Access to Finance in the EU. In the opening statements Marika Huber, Managing Director for the Mediterranean Bank Network highlighted that the event came about through the member banks' commitment towards SMEs. George Vella, President for the Malta Business Bureau outlined that notwithstanding the facilities being made available, within the region SMEs still find difficulty in accessing financing.

Dr Joanna Drake stressed that access to finance is still among the top concerns of the European Union's SMEs, “We are still observing structural problems which make access to finance more difficult for SMEs. These structural problems are aggravated by the current economic environment.”

Throughout the workshop opportunities and considerations involved in creating and utilising of financial instruments both within the EU and the priorities in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean(SEMED) region were heavily discussed. Best practices amongst financial services players and EU institutional organisations were also shared in order to shed light on improved operations. The workshop aimed to help raise awareness about players on financial engineering instruments, Risk Sharing Instruments and Guarantee instruments. A follow up initiative to this event to formulate better implementation of new EU generated financial instruments is being considered.

Click on the following links to view more information and presentations made at the event

Member banks
  • The Bank of Valletta Group is a leading financial services provider in Malta, providing retail banking, investment banking, private banking, fund management, bancassurance, stockbroking and trustee services.

  • Spain’s fourth largest private banking group, covering all areas of the financial business sector under a common denominator: professional performance and quality.

  • One of the leading banks in the Kingdom of Jordan. A bank that has distinctly adapted continuous development and improvement schemes in all of its activities.

  • BPCE Banques Populaires network has 8,500,000 clients and customers (including 3,900,000 members), more than 3,338 branches, and is part of the second largest French banking group – the BPCE Group.

  • With the largest network of banking, the Banque Populaire Group is the leading banking network in Morocco .By the end December 2012, its network was 1145 branches and over 1323 ATMs.