ICO and financial institutions launch ICO's Financing Facilities for 2017
- Over the past five years, 900,000 companies have received financing to the sum of €61.485 billion
- The strategy of promoting long-term financing and supporting business internationalisation is set to continue
7 February 2017. Instituto de Crédito Oficial (ICO) has signed collaboration agreements with financial institutions to launch its facilities for 2017. ICO is currently the leading institution for lending to SMEs. Over the past five years, and during the most difficult periods of the economic crisis in particular when private institutions were subject to credit restrictions, the organisation has granted €61.485 billion to 898,100 companies through its financing facilities. This year ICO will continue its strategy for growing its long-term financing, strengthening its internationalisation facilities and specialising in new products that offer added value to companies' financing needs and exports.
The signing of the collaboration agreements was attended by the Spanish Secretary of State for Economy and Business Support, Irene Garrido; ICO Chairman, Pablo Zalba; and representatives of the ten most active financial institutions in terms of granting ICO loans over the past year: Banco Sabadell, Bankinter, Banco Popular, Santander, Bankia, BBVA, Cajamar Caja Rural, Abanca, Ibercaja and Caja Rural de Teruel.
Over the past five years, ICO has focussed its strategy on financing the internationalisation of Spanish companies, both in terms of their investments and exports. The organisation has offered €11.885 billion to 144,450 companies looking to do business abroad. ICO's lending activities to finance internationalisation has grown from 2.1% of all ICO facilities in 2012 to 33.8% in 2016.
In 2016, the Institute granted €4.681 billion to finance more than 81,000 operations. This figure increases to €4.953 billion taking into account the loan granted to CAF, the Latin American Development Bank, as part of the new facility launched by ICO in 2016 to catalyse the internationalisation of Spanish companies through second-floor facilities with international banking institutions.
ICO facilities are recognised for operating at the grass roots level, accounting for 67% of all loans offered to micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees, rising to 91% of all loans taking into account "small" companies (up to 50 employees). Most loans are classified as microcredits, with 54% of loans arranged for less than €25,000. The most active regions in terms of ICO loans were Catalonia, followed by the Community of Valencia and Andalusia.
Figures for ICO's 2016 facilities showed a downturn compared to the volume of loans granted in 2015. This is attributable to the counter-cyclical nature of the Institute's work. ICO has played a leading role in business financing during the hardest years of the economic crisis and increased its lending to offset the difficulties faced by companies in accessing private loans. As financial institutions have started to offer credit again and companies enjoy better liquidity, ICO has started to focus its strategy on offering added value to business financing, supporting activities that sustain economic growth, job creation and the positioning of companies abroad.