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IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program Expands in Brazil


In Washington, DC:
Rita Jupe
Phone: + 1 (202) 458-8967
Email: rjupe@ifc.org

Karina Manasseh
Phone: + 1 (202) 473-1729
Email: Kmanasseh@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., March 7, 2006—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that Banco Mercantil do Brasil has joined its Global Trade Finance Program as an issuing bank.  

Banco Mercantil is a midsize bank that focuses on retail banking and lending to small and medium businesses located mainly in the southeast region of the country. It is the second issuing bank in Brazil to join the IFC network; Bic Banco joined in February.

Antonio Neto, IFC’s Latin America trade specialist, said, “IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will allow Banco Mercantil to increase its trade finance business worldwide as well as enhance its ability to provide efficient trade solutions to its corporate clients.”

The Global Trade Finance Program promotes trade with emerging markets worldwide by supporting flows of goods and services to and from developing countries. Through the program, IFC provides guarantee coverage of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks and to enhance their trade finance coverage.

Saran G. Kebet-Koulibaly, IFC’s associate director for Latin America and country manager for Brazil, said, “A key objective of IFC in Brazil is to support export-oriented companies and the growth of small and medium enterprises.  The Global Trade Finance Program helps us implement this strategy.”

Milton Loureiro, Banco Mercantil’s shareholder and executive director, said, “The demand for trade finance products among our corporate clientele has increased in recent years as a result of the growing internationalization of the Brazilian economy.  The IFC program will help us meet this demand and provide our customers access to developing markets.”

IFC in Brazil

During fiscal year 2005, Brazil received the largest amount of IFC financing, in dollar value, among Latin American countries.  IFC invested $591million, including $190 million in syndications, in sectors ranging from agribusiness and transportation to manufacturing and the financial sector.  IFC’s total portfolio in Brazil was $913 million at June 2005.

IFC's strategy for Brazil focuses on enhancing clients' prospects for competitiveness and growth, improving the country's social equity through voluntary actions by the private sector, and continuing to promote sustainability.  Since 1956, when Brazil joined IFC, the Corporation has provided $7.45 billion, including syndications, for 162 companies.

The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.  IFC coordinates its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but is legally and financially independent.  Its 178 member countries provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.

The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY05 was $19.3 billion for its own account and $5.3 billion held for participants in loan syndications.  For more information, visit
www.ifc.org/gtfp.

About Banco Mercantil do Brasil

With more than 60 years of history, Banco Mercantil do Brasil is a regional retail bank focused on small and medium size companies as well as individuals. The bank's area of focus is the Southeastern region of Brazil, with an emphasis on Minas Gerais State, where the bank originated and where its headquarters are located (Belo Horizonte). The bank is controlled and directed by a group of families from Minas Gerais.  Banco Mercantil do Brasil also offers credit card issuance, financing of vehicles, leasing of vehicles and equipment, real estate lending, rural lending, foreign trade financing, private pension plans, and insurance brokerage services.