Panama City/Washington, D.C., April
17, 2007—IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has
provided financing to Panama’s Grupo Mundial Tenedora S.A., through its
banking subsidiary Banco Panameño de la Vivienda S.A. (Banvivienda), to
strengthen the housing finance sector in Panama. The $25 million investment
will help the bank expand mortgage banking availability, providing low-income
people with access to long-term funding for housing.
Grupo Mundial is a Central American
financial conglomerate and a new IFC client. IFC’s financing package
consists of a long-term credit line to fund Banvivienda’s origination
of mortgages that meet certain eligibility criteria in the low- and middle-income
housing segments. This package will help the bank match its mortgage
portfolio origination at a time when there is growing demand for mortgage
products in Panama. It will also support the development of a standardized
new asset class that can be further securitized.
Grupo Mundial's CEO, Rodrigo Diaz, noted,
"IFC's financing will support Banvivienda's strategy to expand the
availability of our housing finance products and services for the less
privileged segments of society in Panama. Banvivienda looks forward to
a long-term relationship with IFC in helping develop a strong housing finance
sector in the country."
“The Banvivienda investment is a clear
example of IFC’s added value in the financial sector. We are helping
our client fill the market gap between the need to provide access to mortgage
lending to poor people and the limited availability of longer-term funding,”
said Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Director of Global Financial Markets. “IFC’s
support for Grupo Mundial is consistent with our strategy in Central America,
as it will support a regionally focused institution, which can provide
economies of scale to benefit the smaller economies in the region,” he
Providing support that promotes primary
mortgage lending and focusing on the low- and middle-income populations
are key components of IFC’s financial markets strategy in Panama. Banks
like Banvivienda, which focus on the poorest people, increase access to
viable housing finance and enable more consumers to purchase homes.
IFC in Panama
The financial sector is a priority for
IFC in Panama and throughout Central America. As of March 2007, IFC’s
portfolio in Panama was over $58 million. IFC strategy is to support
institutions that have a regional focus, so that the smaller countries
in the area benefit from economies of scale, including in physical and
financial infrastructure. The Banvivienda project achieves a key
objective of IFC’s sustainability initiatives to develop and support the
local capital markets and housing sector.
IFC’s current portfolio in Central
America is $2,000 million invested in 116 projects, of which $1,373 million
are for IFC's own account and $627 million in syndicated loans.
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 has 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 www.ifc.org.
Banvivienda was founded in 1981 by a
group of investors led by Grupo Mundial, which currently has more than
99 percent shareholding. Since its founding, Banvivienda has been
serving the market in Panama. It started as a mortgage bank, but
it has recently expanded operations to provide other banking services,
including consumer loans, credit cards, savings accounts, checking accounts,
and overdrafts for retail clients and working capital loans, leasing, overdrafts
and “creditos prendarios” for corporate consumers. The bank operates
through a network of eight branches and three additional contact points.
As of December 2006, Banvivienda had approved mortgage loans for
over 5,000 Panamanian families, with an average loan amount of $30,000.
About Grupo Mundial
Grupo Mundial is a financial conglomerate,
with insurance and banking operations throughout Central America, including
Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The holding
company was established in 2005 and, in addition to Banvivienda, its main
asset is Aseguradora Mundial, Panama’s leading insurer. Grupo Mundial
has been listed in the Panamanian Stock Exchange since December 2005.