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May 30, 2017

BNI Europa signs €10m p2p funding deal for Portuguese SMEs

By Saad Ahmed

Banco BNI Europa has agreed to provide €10m (£8.7m) in funding to Raize, a Portuguese peer-to-peer platform, to support SMEs.

The deal will see the Portuguese online challenger bank fund SMEs in the southern European country over the next two years.

BNI Europa’s deal with Raize follows a partnership with another p2p lender, MarketInvoice, with which it agreed to provide £45m in funding each year on the marketplace. The bank had trialled an investment of almost £24m in MarketInvoice the year before.

Raize claims that Portugal’s GDP grew by 2.8% in Q1, and that it received the largest amount of foreign direct investment for 20 years last year.

Pedro Coelho, executive chairman of BNI Europa, said the bank was committed to supporting European SMEs, and cautioned that banks would have to work through fintechs in the near future.

He said: “Our partnerships with Raize and MarketInvoice are just some of the initiatives the bank is promoting within 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 co-founder 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. At the pace we’re growing, we expect 25% of SMEs in Portugal to be financed by investors in 5 to 10 years’ time.”

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