Press Releases

IFC, Inter-American Investment Corporation Help Brazilian Company Expand Access to Finance for Low-income People

In Brazil:
Karina Manasseh
Phone: + 55 11 5185-6881

In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 (202) 758 4920

São Paulo, June 2, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Inter-American Investment Corporation today announced that they will invest in Unik, a leading Brazilian issuer of credit cards consigned in payrolls and financial services for low-income people and retirees. This will enable the company to expand its reach to the country’s low-income segments.

Through the deal, IFC will acquire a 12 percent share in Unik, while IIC acquires 8 percent of the company’s stock. With these new partners, Unik will look to obtain its first direct credit investment fund for 240 million Brazilian reais, which will be used to broaden the credit supply. The company has about 750,000 clients, including retirees and employees from more than 3,000 private and public companies.

According to José Roberto Kracochansky, Unik’s CEO, said, “Payment cards are an effective way of introducing basic financial services for low-income consumers and increasing their access. We are deeply satisfied with the financial support from IFC and IIC. This shows their vote of confidence in our company’s business model.”
Andrew Gunther, IFC General Manager in Brazil, said, “IFC is focusing on innovative projects that expand access to finance for low-income people, as well as for micro, small, and medium enterprises. This project enables IFC to support financial intermediaries that are attempting to bridge the gap in Brazil’s financial services market.”

Santiago Cat, IIC Investment Officer in charge of this operation, said, “Through this investment, we hope to enhance access to basic financial services for low-income families, increase the number of commercial and merchant businesses in urban and rural areas, and improve access to credit.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit

About the Inter-American Investment Corporation

IIC is a multilateral financial institution and member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group. It offers funding in the form of stock contributions, collaterals, and consultancy services for companies in Latin America and the Caribbean. IIC’s mission is to spur economic development among the countries in the region, foster expansions, and streamline private companies, mainly small and medium enterprises. For more information, visit

About Unik
Since 2004, Unik has been controlled by Rio Bravo Investimentos, an asset manager that belongs to Gustavo Franco, former Central Bank President. The company was repositioned as a platform for financial services for Brazil’s low-income populations with limited access to banking services. The company also offers such services as insurance, payment of accounts, and mobile phone reloading. In 2007, the company revenues were 193 million reais, with a growth of 57 percent from the previous year. Part of its expansion is due to an increasing customer base and network of accredited businesses that accept the company’s credit card.

In Uruguay:
Santiago Cat
Inter-American Investment Corporation
Phone: + 59899 376731

In Washington, D.C.:
Sylvia Szankay
Inter-American Investment Corporation
Phone: 202 623 3878

In Brazil:
Conteúdo Comunicação
Claudio Sá (
Paulo Florêncio (
Phone: 55 11 3093 7800