In 2019, NRW.BANK was once again able to keep promotion attractive against the background of persistently low interest rates. The promotional bank for North Rhine-Westphalia again made new commitments totalling € 10.3 billion last year (previous year: € 10.3 billion), which is exactly the same level as the previous year. In addition, the Bank increased the number of advisory sessions across all target groups from 28,000 in 2018 to 29,600 in 2019 (+5.7%).
“The current low interest rates mean that promotional banks will have to redefine part of their promotional value added," said Eckhard Forst, Chairman of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK. “For us, this added value includes offering not only the traditional interest rate subsidies but increasingly also long maturities and fixed-interest options as well as advisory services.” According to Forst, lean processes, maximum flexibility and speed as well as digital access to subsidies are also important factors in keeping promotion attractive. This will increasingly be NRW.BANK’s focus in the coming years.
New ways of digital access to promotional funds opened up
To further facilitate digital access to promotional funds, NRW.BANK continued to expand its cooperation with fintechs in 2019. Through a cooperation with Loanboox, a loan brokerage platform, the Bank has opened up a new way of access to promotion for municipalities and municipal enterprises – and was the first promotional bank to do so. Two more cooperations followed in early 2020, first with Komuno, and last week with Capveriant.
Already back in 2016, NRW.BANK was the first promotional bank to enter into a cooperation agreement with Compeon – a platform for commercial customers – followed by another with FinCompare in 2018, again as the first promotional bank.
About the promotional fields:
NRW.BANK supported the North Rhine-Westphalian economy with promotional funds in the amount of € 2.7 billion (previous year: € 3.6 billion, -24%). The standardised credit programmes NRW.BANK.Universalkredit (€ 1.2 billion, previous year: € 1.7 billion, -29%) and NRW.BANK.Mittelstandskredit (€ 345.7 million, previous year: € 310.8 million, +11%) accounted for the bulk of this amount. The decline is primarily attributable to the economic slowdown, which made companies more reluctant to invest. The new commitment volume for start-up and innovation projects remained at a high level (€ 795.5 million, previous year € 885.2 million, -10%).
Thanks to effective price stimuli in the fields of digitalisation and sustainability, it was possible to offer the NRW.BANK.Digitalisierungskredit and NRW.BANK.Elektromobilität programmes starting at an interest rate of 0% for the final borrower. As a result, demand for these programmes increased noticeably. Promotional funds granted under the NRW.BANK.Elektromobilität programme rose from € 10.3 million in 2018 to € 19.7 million in 2019 (+91%). The new commitment volume in the NRW.BANK Digitalisierungskredit programme climbed from € 30.8 million to € 169.1 million. Since January 1, 2020, the NRW.BANK.Innovationskredit and NRW.BANK.Effizienzkredit programmes have also been offered at interest rates starting at 0%.
The Bank’s new equity investment exposures totalled € 43.2 million in 2019, with seed financings accounting for more than half of this amount at € 23 million. As of the end of 2019, total investments added up to € 443.2 million, including € 202.3 million in seed financing.
NRW.BANK committed an additional € 30 million for additional investments in young and innovative companies and intensified its cooperation with funds managed by third parties.
The volume of new commitments in the promotional field Housing increased by 18 per cent to € 2.6 billion in 2019 (previous year: € 2.2 billion).
This includes the funds of the housing promotion programme of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Of this total amount, € 937.9 million was drawn, up 1.6 per cent on the previous year’s € 923.4 million.
The funds of the housing promotion programme were used to subsidise 8,513 residential units.
The new NRW.BANK.Wohneigentum programme launched in February 2019 turned out to be a great success, with a total amount of € 189 million used to subsidise 1,689 owner-occupied residential units in the first year. At € 105,000 for a family with two children, the income thresholds for this programme are above those of the housing promotion programme. The aim of the programme is to make it easier for a broad middle class to finance home ownership.
The promotional field “Infrastructure/Municipalities” increased by 10 per cent on the previous year to € 4.9 billion (previous year: € 4.5 billion).
There was particularly strong demand for NRW.BANK’s infrastructure programmes, which recorded an 11 per cent increase to € 2.3 billion (previous year: € 2.1 billion). NRW.BANK.Kommunal Invest/ PLUS (€ 317.9 million, previous year € 303.1 million, +5%) and NRW.BANK.Infrastruktur (€ 409.2 million, previous year € 412.9 million, -1%), which are the main volume drivers, remained at a high level. Strong increases were recorded by the directly financed infrastructure projects (social infrastructure and transport, € 349.2 million, previous year: € 95.9 million, >+100%) and the NRW.BANK.Breitband programme (€ 80.6 million, previous year: € 23.7 million, >+100%).
The NRW.BANK.Gute Schule 2020 programme was again used successfully, with the available amount from the year 2018 used in full and on schedule, just like the amount from 2017. The programme will run until the end of 2020; NRW.BANK assumes that all funds in the total amount of € 2 billion will have been called up by then to finance school refurbishment and modernisation measures.
Between 2017 and the end of 2019, municipalities invested as much as € 1.2 billion in the school infrastructure. In 2019, such investments totalled € 460.6 million (previous year: € 507.2 million, -9%), of which € 190.4 million came from the amount from 2019.
Earnings and key figures of NRW.BANK
As of December 31, 2019, total assets amounted to € 149.2 billion (previous year € 149.1 billion), while operating income before risk provisions/revaluation stood at € 194.6 million (previous year € 196.1 million), which means that both items were at the same level as in the previous year. Equity capital as defined in the German Commercial Code (HGB) amounted to € 18 billion and the CET-1 capital ratio stood at 43.52 per cent (previous year: 41.56%).
Aid for companies in the context of the effects of the coronavirus
NRW.BANK offers financial support in the form of promotional loans as well as advice via its Service Centre (+49 211 91741-4800) to companies that have got into financial difficulties due to the effects of the coronavirus. By March 16, as many as XX inquiries had been received. Liquidity bottlenecks are the main problem currently facing small business, in particular. These can be bridged by working capital loans such as the NRW.BANK.Universalkredit standardised programme. To make the programme even more attractive in the current situation, NRW.BANK will temporarily supplement the existing liability release for working capital loans of 50% risk assumption by an 80% risk assumption and suspend the minimum loan amount previously required for this purpose. This will benefit small businesses, in particular.
NRW.BANK is the promotional bank of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). Its mission is to support its owner – the state of North Rhine-Westphalia – in the completion of its structural and economic policy tasks. In its three promotional fields, Economy, Housing and Infrastructure/Municipalities, NRW.BANK uses a wide range of promotion tools – from low-interest promotional loans to equity financing to advisory services. It cooperates with all banks and savings banks based in NRW on a competition-neutral basis. NRW.BANK takes into account the existing offers by the Federal Government, the North Rhine-Westphalian government and the European Union in the arrangement of its promotion.
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