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IFC Supports Regional Expansion of the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan


In Baku:
Olga Godunova
Phone: (+99412)
E-mail: OGodunova@ifc.org

In Moscow:
Ilya Sverdlov
Phone: (+7495) 411- 7555
E-mail: ISverdlov@ifc.org

Baku, Azerbaijan, July 10, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and BP Oil Company on behalf of its co-ventures have partnered with the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan to expand microfinance services to Azerbaijan’s distant rural regions.   This month, the bank, which is also an IFC client, opened its sixteenth local branch in the city of Mingachevir. The new branch will offer a full range of microfinance business and retail banking products, including financing, deposit accounts, credit card services, and domestic and international money transfers.

In addition to Baku, the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan has branches in Gandja, Lankaran, Gazakh, Khachmaz, Sheki, and Sumgayit that provide banking services to distant rural regions of Azerbaijan.  The new Mingachevir branch is the third branch to be launched with IFC support.

“The opening of the new branch is an important step in the general strategy of the bank to increase access to financial services for micro and small businesses and the general population of Azerbaijan. This is a priority for both the bank and our shareholders—to increase access to financial services and develop the non-oil sectors of the local economy,” said Andrew Pospielovsky, General Manager of the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan.

“This project is one of the very few examples in the world where the expansion of microfinance to distant rural regions is funded by a private entity, in this case, BP. IFC has a long-term partnership with BP and the Micro Finance Bank of Azerbaijan to support sustainable growth by providing access to finance for micro and small enterprises in rural regions,” said Ivan Ivanov, IFC Senior Operations Officer for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

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 should 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.