Cyprus: small business loans helped economy from crisis

NICOSIA, Cyprus — Cyprus' finance minister says 269 European Investment Bank loans to small and medium-sized businesses over the last three years have helped the economy rebound from an economic crisis that nearly pushed the island-nation into bankruptcy.

Harris Georgiades said the government-backed loans created 821 new jobs, generated investments of 440 million euros and helped the economy grow by 0.3 percent in 2015 and another 0.5 percent in 2016.

Ten banks disbursed 290.5 million euros ($346 million) with the average loan being around 1 million euros. Most of the money — 43 percent — went to tourism-related businesses.

Georgiades was speaking Wednesday during the signing of another two loan deals with EIB Director Anita Feurstenberg.

Cyprus received a multibillion euro lifeline from creditors in March, 2013 to avoid a banking collapse.

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