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IFC SUPPORTS SMALL BUSINESS LENDING IN COLOMBIA


Mauricio Perea
(202) 473-7997
Hayd»e Celaya
(202) 473-0319


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 5 -- The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has approved US$16.2 million in financing for two Colombian financial institutions that will enhance small and medium-sized companies' access to long-term dollar financing. The two institutions are Leasing Bolivar S.A. and Corporacion Financiera de Santander S.A. IFC has approved a US$10 million line of credit for Leasing Bolivar, which will enable this medium-sized leasing company to channel U.S. dollar resources to Colombian companies. The project will help promote the development of the Colombian leasing market, which has grown rapidly in recent years, with total assets of US$1.2 billion at the end of 1993, up from US$448 million at the end of 1992. IFC will extend a US$5 million credit line to Corporacion Financiera de Santander for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises. IFC will also invest up to US$1.2 million for approximately 5 percent of the equity capital of the company. "Since 1990, Colombia has pursued an aggressive
liberalization program in the trade and financial sectors," according to Mr. Julio Lastres, Manager of the Capital Markets Division in IFC's Latin America and the Caribbean Department. "These projects fully support Colombia's reforms, in that they will help develop local financial institutions and assist their small and medium-sized clients in responding to the challenges posed by the more competitive environment in which they are now operating. The lines of credit will help provide much-needed long-term U.S. dollar financing to local companies for their restructuring, expansion, and modernization." IFC is a member of the World Bank Group and is the largest multilateral source of equity and loan financing for private sector projects in developing countries