Colombo, March 12, 2007 — IFC,
the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced the expansion
of its Global Trade Finance Program, with Sri Lanka’s Nations Trust Bank
joining the program. IFC is providing NTB with a $5 million facility
within its Global Trade Finance Program.
In addition, the IFC SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility will assist
the bank on a specific program for institutional capacity building that
will help enhance the quality of service to the bank’s SME clients.
IFC has had a relationship with NTB since the bank’s inception in 1999
and was one of its initial shareholders. IFC also has had a long-standing
relationship with the bank’s promoters, the John Keells Group, since the
The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide
and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries.
IFC provides partial or full guarantees against underlying trade
instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks.
The program allows issuing banks, such as Nations Trust Bank, to
increase the volume and value of trade transactions, with enhanced tenors
and access to competitive pricing terms.
Farida Khambata, IFC Regional Vice President for Asia and Latin America,
said, “IFC’s support to NTB fits in well with our strategy of partnering
with financial institutions and banks that are committed to developing
Sri Lanka’s SME sector. The IFC Global Trade Finance Program will provide
NTB with risk coverage in a difficult market and a global network that
will assist the bank in undertaking trade finance deals. This paves
the way for countries like Sri Lanka to increase their share of global
trade. In addition, the IFC SEDF capacity building program will help the
bank gain exposure to international best practices as it develops value-added
services for SMEs.”
Zulfiqar Zavahir, Chief Executive Officer at NTB, welcomed the partnership,
saying, “We are delighted to extend our relationship with IFC through
the Global Trade Finance Program. Nations Trust Bank will expand
its network of correspondent banks and create new and valuable business
opportunities for our clients in Sri Lanka and across the world. In addition,
through the capacity building program, we hope to adopt better risk management
Anil Sinha, General Manager of IFC SEDF, explained, “We will collaborate
with NTB in developing appropriate SME banking products and services and
building their institutional capacity through training.” Mr. Sinha is
also the South Asia Regional Coordinator for IFC’s advisory services,
an increasingly large component of IFC’s contribution to private sector
growth in developing regions.
Gilles Galludec, IFC’s Country Manager for Sri Lanka and Maldives, said,
“The Global Trade Finance Program is an important mechanism to bring on
board local banks to an active global network that facilitates transactions
in challenging markets, promotes competitive financing, and builds correspondent
bank relationships with new institutions on a low-risk basis.” Jeetendra
Marcelline, IFC’s Head of Investments in Sri Lanka and Maldives, added,
“Trade finance is a good example of the many types of products IFC offers
to develop a sector."
Trade development and advisory services for issuing banks represent an
integral part of the Global Trade Finance Program. Technical assistance
modules comprise basic and intermediate courses on trade finance. On a
selective basis, IFC places experienced trade finance bankers with issuing
banks to help them develop their trade finance and other banking skills.
About Nations Trust Bank
Nations Trust Bank was incorporated in January 1999 and began commercial
operations in July 1999. The bank is sponsored by John Keells Holdings
Limited and Central Finance Company Limited. The bank has 31 branches in
Sri Lanka, and its primary business activities include retail banking,
private banking, corporate banking as well as leasing for SMEs.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open
and competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable
private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs
and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape
poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products have
committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments
and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have
provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises,
to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business
enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen
environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
About IFC SEDF
The IFC SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility is a multidonor funded
facility managed and operated by IFC. It is one of the 11 regional programs
managed by IFC worldwide. Set up to promote the growth of SMEs in the region,
IFC SEDF is funded by IFC, the governments of the Netherlands and Norway,
and the European Commission, DFID (UK), CIDA (Canada), and the Asian Development
Bank. It provides increased access to finance and quality business development
services to projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Northeast India, the Maldives,
Nepal, and Sri Lanka. IFC SEDF also helps create an enabling business environment
and supports value addition to firms through tailored enterprise and organization-specific
advisory services, capacity building programs, training, and research.
In Sri Lanka, IFC SEDF is funded by IFC and the governments of the Netherlands