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IFC and FELABAN sign an agreement to promote sustainable financing in the banking sector in Latin America


In Mexico City:
Mauricio González Lara
Telephone: +5255 3098 0248
E-mail: mgonzalezlara@ifc.org

Mexico City, March 15th, 2016—The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and the Latin American Banking Federation Federación Latinoamericana de Bancos, FELABAN] announced an agreement to promote sustainable financing in the region’s banking sector and assist banks with identifying business opportunities related to sustainability.

The agreement will enable FELABAN and IFC to promote knowledge generation and capacity building that allows banks to create sustainable financing programs, to leverage IFC global experience in sustainable banking, and to make use of the different tools available to finance environmentally-friendly projects and build environmental and social risk management systems that are aligned with international best practices.

FELABAN Secretary General Giorgio Trettenero stated that “Latin American banks are aware of the need to incorporate sustainability into their operations—from supplying products that meet the needs of clients seeking business efficiency to ensuring the application of international best practices to environmental and social risk management. In that regard, this new agreement with IFC will pave the way for FELABAN to play a very important role in those efforts.”  

The agreement will leverage the experience of the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN), an exclusive group of banking regulators and associations interested in promoting sustainable banking practices, facilitated by IFC. The idea for the SBN arose at the International Green Credit Forum in 2012, where 12 countries requested that IFC facilitate a knowledge network for banking regulators and associations. The SBN develops standards, policies, and guidelines to improve the environmental and social practices of the banking systems in their member countries.

Irene Arias, Global Director for the Financial Institutions Group at IFC, stated that “sustainable financing is becoming increasingly important in the region and our partnership with FELABAN will facilitate the sharing of IFC experience and, in so doing, will ensure leadership by the Latin American banking sector in sustainable banking. We need to make a contribution to a green revolution in the region’s banking system.  This, we believe, represents a solid first step.”

Sustainable financing allows banks to seek and develop new business opportunities in an overlooked and little-known area but one that is increasingly becoming a strategic focus of Latin American countries. The implementation of good practices allows banks to expand their services, serve new markets, and respond to the needs of their clients while assessing and paying attention to the risks and benefits of their investments and loans and supporting the achievement of the goals of the countries in which they operate, as well as their economies.

The number of countries that have frameworks to promote sustainable financing has, at the global level, increased rapidly in recent years. In Latin America, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, and Brazil have launched a variety of voluntary and regulatory initiatives to promote sustainable financing.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to create opportunities where they are needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries stood at nearly US$18 billion, helping the private sector play a key role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About FELABAN
The Latin American Banking Federation, FELABAN, is a non-profit institution established in 1965 in Mar del Plata, Argentina. It brings together, through its respective associations in 19 countries on the continent, more than 623 banks and financial institutions in Latin America. Its objectives include promoting and facilitating contact, understanding, and direct relations among Latin American financial institutions and seeking to contribute, through its technical services, to the coordination of guidelines and the harmonization of banking and financial customs and practices in general in the region.  For more information, visit www.felaban.net.