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.