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IFC Partners with Nicaragua’s Banco de Finanzas to Expand Access to Housing Finance and Trade


In Washington, DC:
Adriana Gomez

Phone: + 1 (202) 458-5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org


Washington, DC, October 1, 2007 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement to help Banco de Finanzas S.A. in Nicaragua develop a housing finance line of credit for low- and middle-income families. Banco de Finanzas also became the first issuing bank in the country to join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program.  

IFC will also provide advisory services to help Banco de Finanzas expand its financial products for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as part of IFC's MSME program, consisting of a $20 million technical assistance program geared at developing Latin American banks' capacity into this market segment.


During the signing ceremony in Washington, Juan Bautista Sacasa, Chairman of the Board of Banco de Finanzas, said, “We look forward to partnering with IFC as it will support our expansion of products and services in an increasingly competitive environment. We are also delighted to be the first bank in Nicaragua to join the Global Trade Finance Program, which will enable us to enhance our trade finance services for our clients, especially small and medium enterprises.”


Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Director for Global Financial Markets, said, “This project is consistent with IFC’s strategy in Central America, which aims to help accelerate private sector development. Through the $15 million financing, IFC will help Banco de Finanzas strengthen its asset-liability structure, improve its access to finance and the cost of alternative funding sources, and help implement best practices in housing and lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises.”


The Global Trade Finance Program promotes trade with emerging markets worldwide by supporting flows of goods and services to and from developing countries. Through the program, IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.


In fiscal 2007, IFC invested $76 million in private sector projects in Central America. Focus countries include: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. IFC’s total committed portfolio in the region as of June 2007 was nearly $660 million, of which $115 million were for the account of participant banks.


IFC’s strategy in Central America supports regional integration by promoting private sector participation in infrastructure projects. IFC also strengthens the financial sector by supporting access to finance for small and medium enterprises, housing finance, and firms in agriculture and services to improve their competitiveness. IFC aims to help companies expand within Central America and beyond.


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

IFC Global Trade Finance Program

Since the launch of the Global Trade Finance Program in Latin America and the Caribbean in February 2006, IFC has issued $340 million in guarantees in eight countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, and Uruguay. Brazil accounts for the highest volume, primarily for pre-export financing. Argentina’s volume is the next highest.  Over 50 percent of the guarantees issued benefited small and midsize businesses and supported interregional trade flows between emerging market nations.  Main industries covered include agribusiness, automotives, consumer goods, industrial goods, commodities, oil and gas, telecommunications, and textiles. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org/gtfp.

About Banco de Finanzas

With $402 million in assets and $35 million in equity as of June 2007, Banco de Finanzas is the leader in housing loans in Nicaragua with a 38 percent market share, ranking fourth among private banks in terms of total loans and assets. The bank is headquartered in Managua and operates 35 branches in Nicaragua, with an affiliate in Panama. Its strategy is focused on retail and SME lending. The retail lending includes housing and consumer finance to serve Nicaraguan households.