Banco BNI Europa has signed a strategic agreement with Portugal’s largest peer-to-peer lender RAIZE to boost lending to SMEs in the country. The online challenger bank is looking to invest €10 million over a two year period. The Portuguese economy has experienced strong GDP growth of 2.8% in the 1st quarter of 2017 and in 2016 captured the largest amount of foreign direct investment in the last 20 years.
Pedro Coelho, Executive Chairman of BNI Europa said: “The bank is extremely committed to supporting SMEs in the European space. Our partnerships with Raize and MarketInvoice are just some of the initiatives the bank is promoting with fintech businesses and more are likely to follow. I believe it is inevitable that banks will have to work more collaboratively with fintech businesses going forward.”
José Rego, Chief Executive Officer and cofounder of RAIZE said: “The deal between RAIZE and BNI Europa is the first of its kind in Portugal, and shows renewed interest from investors in Portuguese businesses.”
“We are seeing very interesting growth rates in the Portuguese market - a market most people thought was too risk-averse and unsophisticated. In fact, at the pace we’re growing, we expect 25% of SMEs in Portugal to be financed by investors in 5 to 10 years’ time,” José Rego said.