Washington, D.C., July 7, 2009—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced that Multibank today became
the first issuing bank in Panama to join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program
to improve access to finance for local importers and exporters and entry
to new markets.
Multibank’s inclusion in the IFC program will allow it to expand its trade
finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks.
IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program promotes trade with emerging
markets worldwide in a number of industries. IFC provides guarantees that
help banks mitigate risks in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand
their trade finance transactions.
Isaac Btesh, Multibank CEO said “This new relationship with the IFC Global
Trade Finance Program will help us increase our capacity to provide trade
financing to our small and medium enterprise clients in Panama and increase
access to new markets around the world, particularly in Asia.” .
Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “Multibank’s
entry in the IFC Trade Program is part of our strategy to address
the current limited access to trade finance for key firms in Panama and
the Central American region.”
Multibank, which in 2008 achieved more than 100% growth in its international
trade operations, promptly initiated operations under the IFC program
with four import financing transactions totaling $23.4 million
to support international trade of manufactured and consumer goods produced
in Asia and shipped to Panama.
About the IFC Global Trade Finance Program
Since launching the Global Trade Finance Program, IFC has issued $1.6 billion
in guarantees to facilitate trade flows with Latin America and the Caribbean.
The network of issuing banks for the region has expanded to 44 banks in
Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador,
El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay,
Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay. More than 40 percent of the guarantees issued
benefited local small and midsize businesses and supported interregional
trade flows between emerging market nations. Antonio Alves is the IFC Head
of Trade Finance for Latin America and the Caribbean (email: AAlves1@ifc.org).
For more information, visit www.ifc.org/gtfp.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to
escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic
growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development,
mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation
services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2
billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For
more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Multibank is the third-largest private Panamanian bank by assets,
deposits, and capital as of December 2008. Started as a small
lending company in 1969, Multibank became a general license bank in 1990.
It subsequently underwent a significant and successful corporate restructuring
to become a universal bank. It provides a growing array of banking services
to small and medium enterprises, corporate, and retail customers.
Multibank is controlled by a well regarded local family. For more information,