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IFC Supports Mortgage and Small Business Lending in Georgia with a $20 Million Investment


In Tbilisi:
Thea Gigiberia
Phone: +(995 32) 91 26 89
E-mail: tgigiberia@ifc.org

In Washington, DC:
Irina Likhachova
Phone: +1 (202) 473 1813
E-mail: ilikhachova@ifc.org


Tbilisi, September 28, 2007 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide financing to Georgia’s Bank Republic to support the expansion of its small and medium enterprise, mortgage, and educational lending programs.

IFC has worked with Bank Republic since 2005, when it participated in IFC’s advisory program to implement corporate governance best practices. IFC helped the bank introduce greater transparency and disclosure principles, increasing its accountability to shareholders and clients. IFC also helped staff the bank’s supervisory board with independent members, strengthening its decision-making power. Investors noticed the improved corporate governance, and in 2006, Société Générale, a major European bank bought 60 percent of the bank’s shares, while the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development bought 10 percent.

Gilbert Hie, Chief Executive Officer of Bank Republic, said, “Bank Republic is very pleased to continue the excellent relationship with IFC started with advisory work and pursued with financing in Georgia. This is a part of the global relationship between IFC and Société Générale Group in many countries in Central and Eastern Europe. It is Bank Republic and  Société Générale Strategy to keep close relationship with International Financial Institutions, although Société Générale Group is also very dedicated to supporting its subsidiary in Georgia.”

Edward Nassim, IFC’s Regional Vice President said, “We are very pleased to continue partnering with Bank Republic and contribute to the development of the Georgian banking sector. IFC’s $20 million senior loan and long-term financing to the bank will help increase loans to small and medium enterprises, the backbone of Georgia’s economy. It will also strengthen mortgage lending to help families improve their living conditions, as well as student loans, making quality education accessible to young people.”

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 in Georgia
Georgia became a shareholder and a member of IFC in 1995. As of September 30, 2007, IFC has committed nearly $258 million in 23 projects in Georgia's financial, power, oil and gas, and manufacturing sectors. In addition to investments, IFC conducts advisory programs in Georgia to promote corporate governance and improve the business-enabling environment with the support of BP and its Oil and Gas Partners and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The corporate governance project helps companies and banks improve their governance practices, which has helped bring millions in outside investment to Georgia.  IFC’s business-enabling environment project helps government agencies streamline the regulatory framework for businesses. It also monitors the local business climate through a regular survey of entrepreneurs. This survey and the IFC/World Bank Doing Business report help the government pinpoint priority areas for reform.

About Bank Republic
Bank Republic, one of the Georgia’s oldest privately owned banks, was founded in 1991. Currently, Bank Republic is the fifth largest bank in the Georgian banking system by total assets, and keeps the fourth ranking position by the total deposits portfolio. Employing more than 700 people, the Bank serves its clients through 30 branches and service centers. Bank Republic controls 30% of the Georgian credit card market. The Bank is now ranked among the most reliable and dynamically developing financial institutions that combine a thorough knowledge of the specific characteristics of the Georgia market with the highest Western standards. Bank Republic’s main area of business is Corporate Banking and Retail Banking with a high quality of services.

In Tbilisi:
Giorgi Kerkadze
Phone: +(995 32) 92 55 55
E-mail: giorgi.kerkadze@republic.ge

Tata Shavdia
Phone: +(995 32) 92 55 55
E-mail: tamar.shavdia@republic.ge