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Multibank Joins IFC Program to Expand Trade Financing for Panamanian Businesses


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez, IFC
Phone:  (202) 458-5204
E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org

In Panama:

Melissa Valderrabano, Multibank Inc.
Phone:  +507 294-1580

E-mail:
mvalderrabano@multibank.com.pa


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.

About IFC                          

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.

About Multibank

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, visit
www.multibank.com.pa/eng/index/html.