Press Releases

IFC Helps Banks Increase Access to Finance for Small Businesses in the Caribbean

In Lima:
Clara Ugarte
Phone:  +51-1-611-2521

In Washington, D.C.:
Leila F. Search
Phone: + 202-473-7511

St. Lucia, May 10, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping bankers develop their operations and provide financial services to improve access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the Caribbean.

IFC, in collaboration with the governments of Japan and the Netherlands and the Canadian International Development Agency, is training bankers on building sustainable small and medium banking operations from May 10 to May 13, 2011.  The training program covers strategy and market segmentation, product design, credit-risk management, and information-management systems.  

More than 28 bankers and trainers from 18 institutions in nine countries are participating in the event, which is part of a training program developed by IFC’s Global SME Banking Program to help banks in emerging markets assess the potential benefits of targeting the small-business sector and to build or expand this line of business.

“The implementation of IFC’s advisory services SME Banking project has helped us gain considerable insight into how small and medium enterprises operate and what we can do to meet their needs more effectively,” said Joanna Charles, Bank of St. Lucia’s Assistant General Manager.  “It is a continuous learning process; however, a clearly defined strategy to serve that niche will be rewarding for all concerned. IFC’s project crystallizes the process by putting the entire SME framework into a new perspective.”

Small and medium enterprises are a major driver of economic growth and job creation, yet in the Caribbean, smaller enterprises struggle to finance the growth of their businesses.

“This training is just one of IFC’s interventions to assist Caribbean financial institutions develop and expand their services to underserved small and medium enterprises,” said Greta Bull, IFC’s Access to Finance Head for Latin America and the Caribbean.

IFC also has conducted similar trainings in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia.

To learn more about IFC’s Global SME Banking Program, visit

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit

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