COSME Loan Guarantee Facility

EU Program on Competitiveness of Businesses and SMEs

COSME 2014-2020 (COSME Loan Guarantee Facility)



Within the context of its on-going commitment for the provision of immediate and effective financial support to SMEs and the encouragement of investments that allow businesses to grow by securing attractive and competitive terms of financing, National Bank of Greece signed with the European Investment Fund (EIF) the first COSME agreement in Greece, totalling €800,000,000 for the implementation of the COSME Loan Guarantee Facility, with the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), a key pillar of the Investment Plan for Europe.

With the support of the European Union, the EIF will provide guarantees to NBG enabling the Bank to channel funds to SMEs, a core feature of which is the substantially reduced requirements for collateral, so as to support more SMEs that otherwise would not be able to receive financing.

The financing of SMEs within the context of the program is possible thanks to the Guarantee provided by the EIF in the frame of the COSME program, which was launched by virtue of  Regulation (EU) No 1287/2013 of the European Parliament and Council, of 11 December 2013, for the purposes of establishing a program for the competitiveness of businesses and SMEs (COSME) (2014-2020), and it is provided with the support of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) created within the context of the Investment Plan for Europe. The aim of the EFSI is to contribute to the financing and the implementation of productive investments within the European Union and to ensure better access to financing.

Aim of COSME Program and benefits for financed businesses

The aim of the program is to provide SMEs with the funds needed to help them grow, while reducing the need for collateral thanks to the guarantee provided by the EFSI to NBG with the support of the European Union.


Eligibility criteria for businesses

To be eligible, businesses need to meet the following criteria:

  • they should be micro, small or medium businesses, as per Commission Recommendation 2003/361/EU, employing up to 250 staff in terms of Annual Work Units (AWU) and the turnover of the last business year should not be higher than €50 million or the value of assets should not be higher than €43 million.
  • they should be businesses not in difficulty as per Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014 of the Commission, of 17 June 2014, announcing certain categories of loan facilities as compatible with the domestic market under articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, as amended.
  • they should be businesses not active in non-eligible sectors, as such are described hereinbelow "Businesses non-eligible for financing".
  • they should not have overdue debts or generally present any breach or default with regard to any contractual term of any loan or leasing agreement, whether granted by the Bank or another credit institution, during the time period that the financing request is under review.
  • they should be established in Greece.


Businesses non-eligible for financing

Businesses considered as not being eligible for financing within the context of the present program, are those whose activity is related to:

- Illegal Economic Activities

Any production, trade or other activity which is illegal under the laws or regulations of national, Union and international legislation for such production, trade or activity.

- Tobacco and Distilled Alcoholic Beverages

The production of and trade in tobacco and distilled alcoholic beverages and related products.

-Production of and trade in weapons and ammunition

The financing of the production of and trade in weapons and ammunition of any kind. This restriction does not apply to the extent that such activities are part of or accessory to explicit EU policies.

- Casinos
Casinos and equivalent enterprises.

- IT Sector Restrictions
Research, development or technical applications relating to electronic data programs or solutions, which:
aim specifically at:

  1. supporting any activity included in the EIF Restricted Sectors referred to above;
  2. internet gambling and online casinos; or
  3. pornography,

    or which are intended to enable to illegally:
  1. enter into electronic data networks; or
  2. download electronic data.

    - Life Science Sector Restrictions

    Research in human cloning for the purposes of reproduction, as it is considered to be illegal economic activity.

    When providing support to the financing of the research, development or technical applications relating to:
    • human cloning for research or therapeutic purposes and
    • Genetically Modified Organisms ("GMOs"),

the EIF shall require from the EIF counterpart (i.e. the Bank) appropriate specific assurance on the control of legal, regulatory and ethical issues linked to such human cloning for research or therapeutic purposes and/or GMOs.


Features of the financing program

The key features of loans granted through the program are the following:

Loan purpose:                  

a) investments in tangible or intangible fixed assets

b) working capital

Minimum amount €10,000

Maximum loan amount: €150,000

Note that if the SME is not compatible with the eligibility criteria of the Innovfin program, which is intended for innovative businesses[1] (as per a respective declaration provided by the bank branch), the loan amount may be up to the amount of:

        • €3,000,000 (or €1,500,000 for enterprises performing commercial road transport), on condition that the duration of loan is no more than five years or
        • €1,500,000 (or €750,000  for businesses performing commercial road transport), on condition that the duration of loan  is no more than ten years.

Type and features of financing:                

a) Revolving Working Capital, renewed at least annually, for a maximum of 5 years.  

b) Working capital of a permanent nature, for a term of at least 1 year and a maximum of 5 years, with 6-month grace period.

c) Financing for the purchase of fixed assets, for a term of at least 1 year and a maximum of 10 years, with 12-month grace period.

Interest rate:   Euribor 6M plus margin depending on the credit rating of the beneficiary and the amount of collateral provided (plus the contribution under Law 128/75),

Currency:    EUR

Collateral:    Reduced requirements for provision of collateral by the businesses, considering the guarantee provided by the EIF to NBG.

Repayment:   Quarterly or half-yearly instalments.

The Revolving Working Capital is provided initially for one year as of the date the agreement is signed. Thereafter, it can be renewed each year for a maximum of 5 years.

Interest billed:   at 30.06 and 31.12 each year.


Required documentation

In addition to the standard documentation (such as balance sheets, P&L statements, periodic VAT returns, Ε1 income tax returns of company proprietors etc.):

1.       Application for financing, together with a list of any other documents attached, completed and signed by the business.

2.       Information regarding staff employed by the firm:

  • Detailed Periodic Declarations (DPDs) for IKA or
  • Solemn declaration of the Legal Representative stating that, during the year the application is filed, the business's employees will be fewer than:
  • 250 employees on an annual basis (if the business has not submitted a DPD) or
  • In cases where the business does not employ staff, a solemn declaration by the Legal representative to this effect.

3.       Shareholder/corporate structure data:

  • For capital companies (SA, Limited Liability Company, Private Company): copy of the pages of the Book of Proprietors/Shareholders indicating the current Corporate/Shareholder structure as at the date the application is filed or, alternatively, the minutes of the most recent General Meeting of Shareholders, including the names of Shareholders who attended and the proportion of shares or ownership they have in the company.
  • For personal companies (General and Limited Partnerships): the firm's articles of association and any amendments thereto or any codification thereof with all company changes.

4.       IKA DPDs of any associated or affiliated businesses.

5.       Declaration stating the classification of the business as an SME.

6.       Solemn declaration of eligibility.

7.       Solemn declaration stating that the business meets Innovfin criteria.

8.       Solemn declaration stating that the business is not subject to a ban (this concerns exclusively requests for funding that are over €600,000).

9.       Solemn declaration stating the business's credit status vis-a-vis credit institutions.

10.   Business Plan for Financing.


The program is available:

Through to 30.09.2020 or until available funds have been used up.


Contact Details

For further information, simply visit any of our Branches .


[1] Businesses that carry out investments and/or spending with an emphasis on research and innovation and/or that can be regarded as "fast growing".