BNI EUROPA, the Portuguese online bank that recently agreed a long-term funding deal with MarketInvoice, has signed a similar agreement with Portugal’s largest peer-to-peer lender Raize.
The challenger bank is planning to invest €10m (£8.7m) over a two-year period, which will be channelled to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the platform.
“The bank is extremely committed to supporting SMEs in the European space,” said Pedro Coelho, executive chairman of BNI Europa.
“Our partnerships with Raize and MarketInvoice are just some of the initiatives the bank is promoting with 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.”
Earlier this month, BNI Europa committed to inject £45m into UK P2P invoice finance platform MarketInvoice every year, after testing a £28.3m investment last year.
Jose Rego (pictured right), chief executive and co-founder of Raize, said the deal with BNI Europa was the first of its kind in Portugal and demonstrates renewed investor interest in Portuguese businesses.
“We are seeing very interesting growth rates in the Portuguese market – a market most people thought was too risk-averse and unsophisticated,” he said.
“In fact, at the pace we’re growing, we expect 25 per cent of SMEs in Portugal to be financed by investors in five to 10 years’ time.”
SME lender Raize currently boasts more than 10,000 investors and expects to lend more than €15m this year.
The Portuguese economy has experienced strong GDP growth of 2.8 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 and in 2016 captured the largest amount of foreign direct investment in the last 20 years, according to the announcement from Raize.