Washington, D.C./Tirana, June 14, 2007
— IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today signed an
agreement with Banka Popullore to help expand the emerging housing finance
market in Albania. The 10 million Euro loan will help the bank strengthen
its mortgage lending operations and enable it to add over 1,000 long-term
residential mortgages. This investment is a core element of IFC's
program to support overall development of the mortgage market in Albania.
The project will promote competition and strengthen mortgage finance in
Albania. It forms part of IFC's broader strategy to develop housing
finance through increased mortgage origination, both in Albania and throughout
the Balkan region.
“We are honored that IFC has become our strategic partner, providing both
financing and advisory support for our mortgage lending. We are very optimistic
about the future development of Albania’s mortgage market. The support
we receive from IFC will help us expand further,” said Edvin Libohova,
Banka Popullore’s CEO, at the signing ceremony in Tirana.
Shahbaz Mavaddat, IFC Director for Southern Europe and Central Asia, said,
“Financial market development plays a central role in IFC’s strategy
for Albania, and we are pleased to help introduce new products such as
mortgage finance. By supporting the primary mortgage system, IFC will not
only make purchasing a home more affordable, but will also help increase
the depth and liquidity of the country’s financial markets. The
investment will also support growth in the construction industry and related
“This investment is a core part of IFC's mortgage program in Albania.
We are launching a broad effort to achieve sustained and holistic
development impact in the sector. In addition to the loan, we are
providing advice to both Banka Popullore and the Albanian regulatory authorities.
The advisory work with the bank will help standardize mortgage credit
and mortgage operations, based on IFC's Mortgage Market Toolkit for emerging
markets. Our work with the regulatory authorities will help enhance
the enabling environment for housing finance operations in Albania. We
are pleased with this well-coordinated effort,” added Nadir Mohammed,
World Bank Country Manager for Albania.
IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and
competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable
private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs
and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape
poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has
committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments
and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies
in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have
provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises,
to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business
enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen
environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
About Banka Popullore
Banka Popullore, a private bank in Albania, started operations in March
2004. The bank has 30 shareholders, who are representatives of the country’s
business community. In only three years it has established over 30 branches
throughout the country. Under the motto “supporting each other,”
the bank has also established partnerships with the local business community
and a good reputation with its clients by encouraging investment in the
country as well as economic development. The bank offers a full range of
services, including deposits, loans, transfers, and bank guaranties. On
April 2007, Société Générale, a high-profile and reputable French Bank,
signed an agreement with Banka Popullore to acquire 75 percent of its shares.