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    A lifeline for northern Spain

    Support for small and medium-sized enterprises and midcaps affected by the COVID-19 crisis mainly in the Spanish region of Catalonia. The Institut Català de Finances (ICF) is the public Catalan bank for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

    First signature
    EUR 17,867,565.6
    Credit lines
    See more


    € 17,867,565.6
    Spain : € 17,867,565.6
    Credit lines : € 17,867,565.6
    Signature date(s)
    22/07/1998 : € 17,867,565.6
    Link to source

    Inside the project

    How and Why

    A much-needed support


    • Catalonia represents 19% of total Spanish GDP 
    • With over 625 000 small businesses, Catalonia is the region with the highest number of small businesses, representing 18.4% of Spanish SMEs.
    • Catalan small businesses struggled because of the COVID-19 downturn and needed support to keep going.


    • EIB’s loan accelerates the deployment of ICF support at favourable conditions to a wider spectrum of small companies


    Investments to lift the economy

    • €1 billion available to steer small businesses through the crisis.
    • 2 000 companies qualified for loans
    • 50 000 people keep jobs, pay bills and survive during coronavirus downturn
    The Bank is supporting small businesses in Spain more than ever.
    Alex Saz-Carranza

    European Investment Bank loan officer



    keep jobs, pay bills and survive during coronavirus downturn

    Play video




    Responding to decline

    €250 million EIB loan to ICF
    Help for 48 000 people

    COVID-19 dealt a particularly heavy blow to companies that rely on tourism or travel. For many, financing backed by the European Investment Bank has been a lifeline.

    “We will have to work hard over the next few years and watch expenses closely,” says Rafael Ruiz, chief financial officer of the Barcelona Technical Centre, an engineering firm in Martorell, northwest of Barcelona, that has 148 employees and designs products for the automobile, aeronautics and railway sectors.

    Ruiz’s company took out a €950 000 loan from the Institut Català de Finances, also called the ICF, the public Catalan bank for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

    By receiving this loan, we have been able to keep paying salaries and cover other commitments, despite the drop in projects.
    Rafael Ruiz

    CFO at the Barcelona Technical Centre

    Backing the business platform

    There is a lot of uncertainty for the future, but with this loan we are now able to manage these uncertainties and make up for the drop in activities during the pandemic.
    Luis Alonso

    Chief financial officer of Atrápalo

    We make loans to financial institutions which subsequently "on-lend" to final beneficiaries. Our support improves access to finance and financing conditions for SMEs and mid-caps.

    By partnering with IFC, EIB financing can reach businesses that would not usually have access to its favourable terms, because they’re too small or too risky.

    Here are some benefits of our intermediated loans for small businesses:

    • Attractive pricing: our pricing reflect the Bank’s advantageous funding conditions on the market
    • Long tenors: our financing terms consider the economic life of each projects
    • Signalling effect: the Bank’s financing in often seen as a quality stamp, helping the project attract additional investors

    The extra financing came just in time for companies such as Atrápalo, an online travel agency based in Barcelona that employs 220 people. Atrápalo took out a €500 000 loan from the Catalan public bank to help pay its staff and prepare for the unexpected.

    Are you an SME or mid-cap looking for finance?

    We benefit from our partners’ expertise, local knowledge and proximity to the projects themselves.

    Discover our financial intermediaries in your country

    General enquiries and comments

    The EIB is committed to open communication and encourages constructive stakeholder input regarding its activities.
    Enquiries and comments concerning the EIB’s involvement in a project or the financing facilities, activities, organisation and objectives of the EIB, can be sent to the EIB Infodesk.
    Alternatively, the EIB can be contacted through its external offices.
    Queries regarding details of a specific project, in particular when it is under appraisal by the EIB, should preferably be addressed directly to project promoters.

    Media enquiries

    Media-related enquiries can be addressed to the EIB Press Office. Please also visit our Media information section.

    Complaints mechanism

    Any complaint regarding alleged maladministration can be lodged via the EIB Complaints Mechanism. The European Ombudsman acts as an independent external accountability mechanism of the EIB.

    Zero tolerance against fraud and corruption

    The EIB has a zero tolerance policy on fraud or corruption. To report allegations of fraud and corruption relating to EIB-financed projects, please contact the Fraud and Investigation division. All complaints will be treated as strictly confidential and handled in line with the EIB investigation procedures and the Anti-Fraud Policy.

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