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IFC Increases Technical Assistance for Mortgage Markets in Central America and Peru


In Washington:
Georg Schmidt

Phone: +1 (202) 458-2934

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Gschmidt@ifc.org

Adriana Gomez

Phone: +1 (202) 458-5204

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:  
Agomez@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., March 16, 2005 —The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has expanded a technical assistance program aimed at improving access to housing finance in Central America and Peru. The program is supported by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the Italian Ministry of Finance, and IFC’s own resources.

The new program phase will explore ways to develop the primary mortgage markets of Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Panama into an integrated regional primary mortgage market and, at a later stage, a secondary market. In addition, IFC will provide technical assistance to Fondo Mivivienda in Peru, a fund that finances the mortgage lending of commercial banks and non-bank financial institutions. This project will review and update Mivivienda’s underwriting manuals in order to standardize their mortgage products and help facilitate the development of a secondary mortgage market
.

The interventions build on technical assistance projects undertaken for the less developed markets of Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua during the first program phase.  In these countries, IFC has conducted in-depth assessments of capital market and legal frameworks and made specific recommendations to overcome constraints in housing finance.


Jyrki Koskelo, IFC’s director for Global Financial Markets, said, “In small emerging markets viable housing finance systems are crucial for poverty alleviation and financial sector development. Our challenge is to use technical assistance in an effective way to support the sector and our investment activities.”


Atul Mehta, IFC’s director for Latin America and the Caribbean, added, “In Central America, we are helping establish regional mortgage markets. This allows us to contribute to the scaling up of mortgage finance and advance the financial sector as a whole.”


A key element of poverty reduction, housing finance plays an important role in the World Bank Group’s overall financial sector strategy. Mortgages account for a large portion of household debt and support the efficient functioning of domestic and international financial markets through secondary markets and securitization. In addition, the housing market is an essential driver of the construction industry and its suppliers and thus an important contributor to employment.

The mission of IFC (www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in emerging markets, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in transition and developing countries, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.