Some 50,000 small businesses in Greece have benefited from the loan guarantee program by the Small and Very Small Enterprises Guarantee Fund (TEMPME), the state-backed institution announced yesterday. The total amount of loans issued under the TEMPME guarantee has reached 4.8 billion euros, with 80 percent of that (about 3.8 billion euros) guaranteed by the fund and safeguarding the jobs of 210,000 people. By the time the second phase of the program is complete, the number of companies to have benefited will stand at 80,000 and the total amounts of the loans issued will amount to 9.5 billion euros, «thus giving a boost to the Greek economy, while safeguarding 350,000 jobs,» said TEMPME president Nikos Domenikos. The companies that participate are obliged to keep at least the same number of employees as long as they remain part of the program. The interest rates on the loans are particularly favorable as they are locked into the Euribor amount plus 2.1 percent, considerably lower than those from commercial banks.