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IFC STRENGTHENS MICROFINANCE IN MEXICO


Adriana Gomez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384

E-mail:  agomez@ifc.org


Washington, DC, April 26, 2001 The International Finance Corporation has approved an investment of US$1.65 million to Financiera Compartamos S.A. de C.V., Mexico’s leading microfinance institution, which will help low-income entrepreneurs gain the financing they need to generate new income and improve their living standards.


With this initiative, IFC will support the transition of Compartamos to a commercially viable entity, thus facilitating access to market-based funding and the expansion of its services.


IFC’s investment will consist of $1 million loan and $650,000 for 10 percent of the equity of this newly created  financial intermediary.  Financiera Compartamos is taking over the existing microlending operations and portfolio of Asociación Programa Compartamos (APC), a Mexican non governmental organization.  The other shareholders include eighteen Mexican individuals, Accion International’s Gateway Fund (
www.accion.org) and Profund International.

Compartamos currently reaches over 65,000 borrowers, mostly women, through 30 branches in rural and urban Mexico, many in the less developed states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.  With an average loan size of around $150, the beneficiaries are in the lowest income segments of the population.  The organization expects to triple the number of beneficiaries it serves in the next five years.


Karl Voltaire, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said that this initiative accompanies current World Bank support to the new Mexican administration’s efforts in streamlining Mexico’s non-bank sector and improving the microenterprises’ access to basic financial services.  It is estimated, Mr. Voltaire added, that the formal microfinance sector benefits less than five percent of the seven million microentrepreneurs in Mexico.


Carlos Labarthe, CEO of Financiera Compartamos said that he is confident IFC’s knowledge and reputation in the provision of financial services will greatly enhance the performance of the company and help strengthen access to quality service for Compartamos’ clients.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org), part of the World Bank Group, is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries as a way to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives.  IFC finances private sector investments in emerging markets, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.

Financiera Compartamos, S.A. de C.V., S.F.O.L