Press Releases

IFC Boosts Financial Access for SMEs in Colombia with New Loan to Banco Pichincha

In Bogota, Colombia
Darcy Antonin Crowe, IFC
Phone: +57 1 313 6449

Bogotá, Colombia, March 3 2016 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, strengthened its support to Colombia’s small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a new US$80 million loan to Banco Pichincha, a bank that strives to sharply boost its lending to Colombian SMEs and low-income students.

IFC’s loan, which consists of US$50 million from its own account and $30 million to be mobilized by IFC from other investors, will also reinforce Banco Pichincha’s role as a private-sector leader in student loans in Colombia.  IFC’s loan is expected to help Banco Pichincha nearly triple its loans to SMEs by 2019 and also increase its portfolio of tertiary education loans.

“IFC’s support to our institution will help us continue to expand our work with SMEs and ensure that they are able to access financing for their operations and growth in Colombia,” said Eduardo Fernández-Salvador, Banco Pichincha’s chief executive officer. “This loan will also bolster our education lending for lower to middle income students, which creates a path for social mobility and can open doors to better, more stable and higher paying jobs,” he said.  

For IFC, the loan to Banco Pichincha is part of its efforts to boost financial inclusion in Colombia. Recent data suggests that only 53 percent of SMEs in Colombia have an outstanding loan or line of credit with a financial institution, compared to 79 percent in Chile. Boosting financial access for SMEs is crucial to the country’s sustainable growth as they are key driver of economic activity and job creation.

The loan will also help boost access to tertiary education in Colombia, an area where the country has made great progress but where many challenges remain. Coverage for tertiary education in Colombia remains significantly lower than member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), something which is partly attributable to lack of financing options for potential students.  

Pichincha can help close this gap as it is a major player in providing student loans in Colombia. The bank maintains a relationship with over 480 tertiary education entities in 32 cities in the Country and finances approximately 94,000 students each year.

The loan is part of wider engagement by IFC with Grupo Pichincha, the Ecuador-based holding group that controls Banco Pichincha in Colombia, and which also has operations in Peru, Panama, the United States and Spain. The group is focused on increasing access to finance to low income households and SMEs, making it a strategic partner for IFC in the Andean Region.

“Our long-term partnership with Pichincha helps to reach low-income sectors of the population and to create a more inclusive financial sector in Colombia,” said Carlos Leiria Pinto, head of IFC for the Andean region. “With this project, IFC reinforces its compromise with the sustainable economic development of Colombia and the use of our resources to increase access to credit,” he said.

In Colombia, IFC is engaged in supporting sectors essential to social and economic development, such as infrastructure, health, education, agribusiness, and public-private partnerships to build ports, roads, and airports. IFC also promotes access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, and works on improving the investment climate by simplifying regulations and royalty management.

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

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