Press Releases

IFC and APAP Partner to Increase Access to Finance for SMEs in the Dominican Republic

In Washington:
Vanessa Bauza, IFC
Phone: +1 202 458 1603

Santo Domingo, December 15, 2015 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos (APAP) establish new banking services to better serve the financing needs of small and medium enterprises in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic is home to over 18,000 small and medium enterprises. These businesses provide over half a million jobs, representing 13 percent of the employed population in the country. Yet small and medium entrepreneurs say that lack of access to finance is the most significant barrier facing their businesses. Approximately 38 percent either have limited or no access to loans, which restricts their ability to grow and create jobs.  

IFC will implement an advisory project to help APAP design, develop and roll out its SME strategy. Through this project, IFC will support APAP in conducting market research to define its target segment among small and medium enterprises, understand their specific needs and design a business model to best serve these enterprises. This includes strengthening the institution’s risk management practices and diversifying its product mix to meet the demands of small and medium enterprises.

“APAP is working with IFC to better serve the banking needs of the country’s small and medium entrepreneurs,” said Gustavo Ariza, Executive Vice President of APAP. “They are a critical driver of jobs; we hope that this joint effort will help small and medium entrepreneurs grow their businesses and prosper.”

Small and medium entrepreneurs are vital for the economic and social development of emerging markets. They generate jobs and provide essential goods and services. Yet many do not have the credit needed to grow their businesses and increase their productivity. Access to financial services, which is often critically constrained in emerging markets, is necessary in developing local economies. Over the past decade, IFC has played a critical role in helping small and medium enterprises worldwide gain greater access to financing. With IFC’s support, our clients in Latin America and the Caribbean provided 794,000 loans to small and medium enterprises in 2014 for a total value of $51 billion.

“We have a strong commitment to expanding access to finance to individuals and small businesses by working through our network of financial institution partners like APAP,” said Guillermo Villanueva, Resident Representative for IFC in the Dominican Republic. “Our goal is to strengthen and build the capacity of financial institutions to provide broad-based services to small and medium enterprises. We are pleased to be working with APAP to help Dominican entrepreneurs grow and prosper.”

IFC’s support for APAP is consistent with IFC’s strategy in the Dominican Republic, which focuses on supporting economic growth and ensuring opportunities for poorer segments of society. At the end of June 2015, IFC had a committed investment portfolio in the Dominican Republic totaling $198 million, including $22 million from partnering institutions.  IFC’s clients in the Dominican Republic last year supported more than 14,000 jobs.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion, helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit

About Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos
Asociación Popular de Ahorros y Préstamos was founded in 1962 and is the third largest savings and loans association in the Dominican Republic. Initially focused on promoting savings and providing mortgage loans, it has broadened its products range in retail and commercial banking. It is headquartered in Santo Domingo, with 50 branches distributed in the north, east and west parts of the country. For more information, visit