Under the program, the EBRD will share the risk on individual loans made by Raiffeisen Bank Aval to SMEs in the total amount of up to EUR 20 million over a period of three years. The RSF will help increase the size and tenor of loans to businesses across the country. This will be achieved through the enhanced risk-taking capacity of Raiffeisen Bank Aval in partnership with the EBRD, reads the report.

Borrowers under the RSF are offered various technical cooperation programs, including a comprehensive package of technical assistance available through the EU4Business program, financed by the EU and managed by the EBRD.

In particular, Ukrainian firms will tap into the best international expertise available in areas such as financial management, IT development, and the optimization of production and management processes, the press service says.

Volodymyr Lavrenchuk, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Aval, noted that last year, the bank issued loans to more than 1,100 companies, including 300 new clients. "The program is an opportunity to double our support for Ukrainian companies in their business development. This sphere has been and remains one of the priorities of our bank," he said.

Sevki Acuner, EBRD Director for Ukraine, believes that the project will contribute to the development of SME lending and the growth of the banking sector in the country. "It will improve access to finance for Ukrainian companies, upgrade their business practices, and help to share risk among responsible lenders," said Acuner.

The EBRD is the largest international financial investor in Ukraine. To date, the Bank has made a cumulative commitment of almost EUR 12.1 billion across some 400 projects since the start of its operations in the country in 1993.

Raiffeisen Bank Aval was founded in 1992. Since October 2005, it has been part of the Austrian banking group Raiffeisen Bank International AG. As at September 30, 2017, Raiffeisen Group owned 68.28% of the shares of Raiffeisen Bank Aval, and the EBRD held 30%.