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Jeoffrey Smith: The partnership between commercial and development banks is of the utmost importance

Interview with the managing director of ING "Financing of infrastructure" with Marta Mladenova for the "Horizont" radio station of the Bulgarian National Radio.

Jeoffrey Smith: One of the key elements of developing the business environment is the focus on environment and infrastructure projects. It comes precisely thanks to the development banks. They contribute trust and provide connection with the State, because, at most of the cases, as in Bulgaria, development banks are state-owned. They also have an extremely extensive knowledge of the local business environment, which is very important for the large international banks. They couldn’t have that much knowlege about the local market. The partnership between commercial banks and development banks is of high importance.

-In Bulgaria and in the Balkan region, there are no many infrastructure projects financed through such partnerships. What is the result?

If the question is why there aren’t more projects, the answer is that they still on the tax receipts. In fact, in both developed and less developed countries there is a need of infrastructure investments. There are many companies that deal with such projects. There are also many banks that would like to finance infrastructure investments. The point is that this is usually a long-term public investment. From this point of view we do not wonder whether, but when these investments will happen. The European Union has very strong perception about the fact that investment in infrastructure is the basis for the overall economic growth. If you do not have good roads, if there isn’t a good connectivity in every aspect, then sustainable growth of the economy could hardly exsist.
-Attracting private capital in the implementation of large infrastructure projects is becoming more and more popular topic. What are the main factors, which you are taking into consideration in the loan approval process?

The main things that we are very careful about are related to the stable and predictable regulatory framework. We are looking for projects at affordable price. Whether you are talking about taxpayers ' money or a private investment, the way of financing does not make the project effective with a magic wand.