Finanzgruppe Sparkassenstiftung





Strengthening the banking sector and microlending

total of 8 Azeri commercial banks and 6 non-bank financial intermediaries

2006 – 2012 (EBRD)
up to 4 international long-term experts, 10 local specialists, 5 short-term experts



EBRD’s “Early Transition Countries” initiative targets the stimulation of market structures in the Caucasus and Central Asian countries of CIS. Similar to GAF, the focus lies on small and medium-sized enterprises, as they do not only create the most new jobs, but also have a positive impact on the transition to democratic structures.

Since the end of 2005, the EBRD is providing funds for on-lending to small and micro enterprises via local partner banks within the framework of the Azerbaijan Multi-Bank Framework Facility (AMBFF). Besides the in total 8 partner banks, some microfinance NGOs benefit from the AMBFF, too. Similar to GAF, the project supports the introduction of lending technologies focusing more strongly on the borrower’s ability to repay the loan than on collateralization. The core focus of project activities lies on the extension of micro loans in the regions. This is of benefit to the local enterprises and gives support to the regional economic structure. At the same time, it supports the partner institution’s efforts to efficiently expand their branch networks, as micro loans are an ideal product to attract a large number of customers. In order to cater to the needs of agrarian companies, too, the development of a specific agricultural lending scheme was launched in 2008. Meanwhile, every fifth loan granted is an agricultural loan. To boost lending efficiency, scoring techniques for micro loans were also introduced.



  • Training of loan officers and executive staff of the partner banks in special seminars and training “on-the-job”
  • Introduction of new lending techniques – replacement of traditional “relationship banking” by a technology emphasising the solvency analysis of small entrepreneurs
  • (Re)organisation of the lending business and establishment of special SME loan departments
  • Countrywide expansion of lending business
  • Extensive monitoring of the partner institutions involved
  • Preparation of classification of partner banks with a view to the end of the technical support (elaboration of internal training capacities, all-encompassing product management, etc.)
  • Regular audit of the partner banks’ loan portfolios
  • Introduction of risk management methods for agricultural loans
  • Enhancing lending efficiency by implementing scoring procedures