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IFC Purchases Bancamía Bonds to Promote Microfinance in Colombia


In Bogotá, Colombia:
Darcy Crowe, IFC
Telephone:+571 313 6449
E-mail: dcrowe@ifc.org

Bogotá, Colombia, March 4, 2016 –Bancamía S.A., the largest microfinance institution in Colombia, has issued bonds valued at 84 billion Colombian pesos (approximately US$25 million) to enable it to continue promoting financial inclusion in the country. The bonds were purchased by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group that focuses on private sector development, and by Bancóldex and the Dutch ethical finance firm Oikocredit.

This was the third bond issue by Bancamía since its inception seven years ago as a banking institution affiliated with the BBVA Microfinance Foundation Group. The new funds will enable Bancamía S.A. to expand its microfinance operations in Colombia, where it is currently the leader in microfinancing provided by private banks, serving over 790,000 low-income customers through a network of 200 offices, many located in rural and other areas where the presence of financial institutions has traditionally been limited.

The bond issue also marks a new step in Bancamía’s strategy for positioning itself in Colombia’s capital market to continue diversifying its funding sources. The new funds will boost financing for business production units in both rural and urban areas.

This operation is another example of the strategic relationship between Bancamía and IFC, both of which are seeking to promote financial inclusion in Colombia. The relationship began in 2010, when IFC invested US$10 million in the bank. In 2015, IFC purchased a Bancamía bond issue for 100 billion pesos.

IFC’s purchase of a portion of this new bond issue also strengthens the relationship between IFC and the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, Bancamía’s principal shareholder and a partner in IFC’s efforts to strengthen microfinance institutions in Latin America. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is a key player in the microfinance sector in the region. Through the various institutions in the BBVA Group, it offers a wide range of financial services to low-income entrepreneurs in order to sustainably advance their economic and social development.

Oikocredit also purchased part of the bond issue, viewing the purchase as an opportunity to support Bancamía in its efforts to diversify its financing structure through greater emphasis on long-term debt. Oikocredit was especially keen to invest in the bond issuance after noting Bancamía’s national presence, its solid financial structure, its focus on rural development in Colombia, and its commitment to microentrepreneurs.

Developing the microfinance sector has also been a priority for IFC in Colombia as part of its efforts to increase the financial sector’s penetration in that country. “With this new financing, we will continue promoting financial inclusion in Colombia and working to deepen the country’s capital markets,” said Carlos Leiria Pinto, IFC’s head for the Andean region.

In Colombia, IFC seeks to support sectors that are essential for the country’s social and economic development, such as infrastructure, health, education, agribusiness, and public-private partnerships to build ports, roads, and airports. It also promotes access to financing for microenterprises and small and medium-sized businesses and is helping to improve the investment climate through simplification of regulations and management of royalties.
 
About Bancamía
Bancamía S.A. is a microfinance bank created in 2008. It is the first banking institution devoted exclusively to providing financial products and services for the microenterprise sector, with the aim of promoting the advancement of its customers, whose production units are transforming the country’s economy. It currently has coverage in 29 departments and 844 municipalities in Colombia. The bank’s website is www.bancamia.com.co.
 
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 opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly US$18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Oikocredit
Oikocredit is a worldwide cooperative financial institution that promotes sustainable development by providing loans, capital, and capacity-building support to microfinance institutions, cooperatives, fair-trade organizations, and small and medium-sized enterprises. As a social investor, Oikocredit’s work is guided by the principle of empowering people to improve their livelihoods.