OREANDA-NEWS. November 01, 2008. The EBRD is acquiring a 25% plus one stake in Araratbank, a privately-owned Armenian bank, to support its plans for further expansion, reported the press-centre of EBRD.

The EBRD’s investment will support the development of Araratbank’s retail, medium, small and microfinance lending programmes. Growth will be achieved by attracting new customers through diversification of its product range, increasing regional branch network and further improving its service culture.

The Bank will also be strengthening the Araratbank’s internal policies and procedures, corporate governance and existing management structure and will be represented on its board.

The EBRD and Araratbank have been partners since November 2007, when the Armenian bank received a US5 million credit-line for lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) and a US 1 million credit-line for trade financing.

Araratbank, previously called Haykap Bank, was founded in 1991 and provides a full range of banking services to corporate, MSME and retail customers. The bank has established a reputation as a small but reliable and dynamically growing financial institution.

Ashot Osipyan, CEO of Araratbank said: “I am delighted to work with the EBRD and proud to see that the hard work of the past two years has paid off. Araratbank is one of the leading banks in Armenia with a strong name and a loyal customer base. I feel assured that with the EBRD’s expertise we can further improve our operations to benefit our shareholders, clients, employees and the economy of the country.”

Mike Davey, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus added: “We believe our support will further enhance Araratbank’s competitive position and increase the bank’s attractiveness.”

The EBRD is one of the largest investors in Armenia and to-date has committed more than ?200 million in more than 50 projects.