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IFC Provides $40 Million to Banco Banex in Costa Rica


Washington DC:
Adriana Gomez

Phone: +1 (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
Agomez@ifc.org


Washington DC, September 20, 2005- The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, signed an agreement to provide a $40 million five-year loan to Banco Banex S.A., a leading private bank in Costa Rica, to help diversify and increase the average maturity of the bank’s funding base as well as support its expansion in corporate and consumer lending, especially mortgage operations.  

IFC’s funding will help Banex continue providing long-term financing to corporations and consumers.  Such financing is not easily available in Costa Rica, and it is crucial to the country’s economic growth. IFC’s transaction with Banex will support private sector participation in the country’s banking sector, which can improve benchmark standards and competition while customers benefit from greater efficiency and international experience.  IFC’s term funding will also help Banex better match the balance sheet structure of its assets and liabilities as it continues making longer-term loans.


Jyrki I. Koskelo, Director of  IFC's  Global Financial Markets Department, said, "IFC’s financing of Banex shows our commitment to strengthening Costa Rica’s financial sector.  We are helping local banks finance the country’s consumer segment, particularly in the housing market, as well as its corporate segment. In a relatively small economy, the financial sector provides crucial support to local economic activity.”


Atul Mehta, Director of IFC's Latin America and Caribbean Department, noted, "We are pleased to support Banco Banex and the financial sector in Costa Rica. This operation fits well with IFC's strategy to support development of the financial sector in Central America, at a time when the prospect of CAFTA is creating new challenges and opportunities."


Banco Banex is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporación Banex, a diversified financial services holding company based in Costa Rica that is in turn owned by Banco del Istmo S.A., one of the largest financial groups in Central America.


Sergio Ruiz, CEO of Banco Banex, said, “Receiving the $40 millon credit line from an institution of IFC´s caliber proves that Banco Banex has grown into a solid financial institution and established a clear vision for growth and sustainability. We are constantly striving to develop new and better products to serve our clientele, and we excel in the service and quality we can offer them.”


The mission of IFC
(www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, 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 US$44 billion of its own funds and arranged US$23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was US$17.9 billion for its own account and US$5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.