Cyprus: small business loans helped economy from crisis

IndustriesAssociated Press

Cyprus' finance minister says 269 European Investment Bank loans to small and medium-sized businesses over the last three years have helped the economy rebound from an economic crisis that nearly pushed the island-nation into bankruptcy.

Harris Georgiades said the government-backed loans created 821 new jobs, generated investments of 440 million euros and helped the economy grow by 0.3 percent in 2015 and another 0.5 percent in 2016.

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Ten banks disbursed 290.5 million euros ($346 million) with the average loan being around 1 million euros. Most of the money — 43 percent — went to tourism-related businesses.

Georgiades was speaking Wednesday during the signing of another two loan deals with EIB Director Anita Feurstenberg.

Cyprus received a multibillion euro lifeline from creditors in March, 2013 to avoid a banking collapse.