Two weeks after announcing a UK invoice discounting tie-up with MarketInvoice, Portuguese bank BNI Europa has signed a strategic agreement with its home country’s largest peer-to-peer lender RAIZE to boost lending to SMEs. The online challenger bank plans to invest up to €10m over a two year period.

While Portugal was one of the most badly hit countries during the euro crisis, BNI Europa comments that the Portuguese economy saw GDP growth of 2.8% in the first quarter of 2017. Last year, foreign direct investment into the country hit a 20-year high.

Pedro Coelho, executive chairman of BNI Europa said,  “The bank is extremely committed to supporting SMEs in the European space. 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.”

José Rego, CEO and cofounder of RAIZE said that the Portuguese market was one which “most people thought was too risk-averse and unsophisticated. In fact, at the pace we’re growing, we expect 25% of SMEs in Portugal to be financed by investors in five to 10 years’ time.”