Latvia: Easier access to microcredits

Local news, 21.06.2011

Switzerland contributes 7.48 million Swiss francs to support a microcredit programme in Latvia. The programme agreement was signed on 21 June 2011. The microcredit programme will make it easier for small-sized companies and self-employed workers to obtain microloans, which in turn should spur the creation of up to 900 new jobs.

Branch bank Hipoteku Banka
The Latvian Hipoteku Banka, which has implemented credit programmes financed through state funds or EU structural funds since 1995, was commissioned to implement the project. © SECO

After the boom years when annual economic growth stood at around 10%, Latvia’s economy collapsed in 2008 under the effects of the global economic and financial crisis. The country’s economic output fell by 18% in 2009, more dramatically than in any other EU member state. The unemployment rate rose tremendously and in 2010 reached just under 20%.

In order to counter this development, Switzerland provides CHF 7.48 million for a microcredit programme in Latvia. Under the programme the state-owned development bank Hipoteku Banka will issue about 650 microcredits.

The project agreement was signed on 21 June 2011 by Gabriela Nützi Sulpizio, Swiss Ambassadress to Latvia and Aleksandrs Antonovs, Head of the National Coordination Unit and Deputy State Secretary at the Latvian Ministry of Finance.