MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EFSE Lends $7.8m to Microfinance Institutions Mikrofin of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Opportunity Bank Serbia

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle focusing on Southeast Europe and Central Asia, recently invested in two microfinance institutions (MFIs) in an effort to support micro- and small enterprises: Mikrofin, an MFI in Bosnia and Herzegovina with a network of 64 offices; and Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS), a member of US-based Opportunity International, which is active in 22 countries. The loan amounts were EUR 5 million (USD 5.6 million) for Mikrofin and EUR 2 million (USD 2.3 million) for OBS. Mikrofin and OBS have partnered with EFSE since 2002 and 2007, respectively.

As of March 2014, Mikrofin reported total assets of BAM 180 million (USD 126 million), a gross loan portfolio of BAM 137 million (USD 96 million), 64 branches and 44,700 customers. It does not accept deposits. As of the end of 2014, OBS reported a gross loan portfolio of EUR 65 million (USD 72.4 million) outstanding to 28,000 loan clients and EUR 54 million (USD 60.1 million) in deposits collected from 15,600 clients. In 2013, OBS reported total assets of USD 106 million.

By Mathew Cerf, Research Associate

About European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE)

The Luxembourg-based European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) focuses on the development of local financial sectors in Southeast Europe and parts of Central Asia. EFSE provides “long-term” funding for micro- and small enterprises as well as private households via  partner retail institutions. EFSE also operates the EFSE Development Facility, which provides technical assistance, consulting and training services supporting capacity building within these partner institutions. EFSE was established in 2005 by Germany’s Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (which is also known by its German acronym BMZ) and the EU’s European Commission. The fund is privately managed, with Oppenheim Asset Management Services of Luxembourg acting as fund manager and Finance in Motion GmbH of Germany acting as fund advisor. EFSE operates in 16 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Ukraine and Turkey, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

As of 2014, EFSE reported total assets of EUR 854 million (USD 967 million), a sub-loan portfolio of EUR 764 million (USD 865 million) and profit of EUR 1.8 million (USD 2 million). As of September 2014, EFSE holds a microfinance label from Luxembourg Fund Labeling Agency (LuxFLAG), an NGO that certifies that social investment vehicles actually invest as advertised.

About Mikrofin

Mikrofin Banja Luka, established in 1997, is a microfinance institution based in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It aims to “provide appropriate financial services to economically-active, low-income people that can make a profit and make it possible for them to become economically independent.” Mikrofin also has a majority stake in MF Banka a.d. Banja Luka, an MFI in Bosnia and Herzegovina that was established in 2007. As of March 2014, Mikrofin reported total assets of BAM 180 million (USD 126 million), a gross loan portfolio of BAM 137 million (USD 96 million), 64 branches and 44,700 customers. While Mikrofin does not offer deposit accounts, MF Banka a.d. Banja Luka does accept deposits.

About Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS)

Opportunity Bank Serbia is a deposit-taking microfinance institution that has been present in Serbia since 2002. OBS offers loans, current accounts and savings accounts to private individuals. It also offers loans to small business. OBS is a member of Opportunity International, a network of banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) that was founded in the US city of Chicago in 1971. As of the end of 2014, OBS reported a gross loan portfolio of EUR 65 million (USD 73.3 million) outstanding to 28,000 loan clients and EUR 54 million (USD 60.1 million) in deposits from 15,600 savings clients. In 2013, it reported total assets of USD 106 million.

About Opportunity International

Based in the United States, Opportunity International is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1971. Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to approximately 5 million poor people in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. As of September 2013, Opportunity International reported a gross loan portfolio of USD 617 million, 2.9 million active borrowers and 1.5 million insurance policyholders.

Sources and Additional Resources

[1] European Fund for Southeast Europe Press Release: “EFSE and Mikrofin expand their support of rural entrepreneurs in in Bosnia and Herzegovina

[2] European Fund for Southeast Europe Press Release: “EFSE and Opportunity Bank support MSEs and agricultural clients in Serbia

[3] MicroCapital Universe Profile: “Mikrofin Banja Luka

[4] MicroCapital Universe Profile: “European Fund for Southeast Europe

[5] MicroCapital Universe Profile: “Opportunity Bank Serbia

[6] MicroCapital Universe Profile: “Opportunity International

Did you know that MicroCapital also publishes the MicoCapital Monitor newspaper each month? Find out more at https://www.microcapital.org/products-page/.

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