Press Releases

IFC Boosts Colombian Small Business with $7Million Bank Investment

IFC in Washington D.C.:
Adriana Gomez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384


BCS in Bogotá, Colombia:

Eulalia Arboleda de Montes

President Banco Caja Social

Phone:  (571) 331 8000, (571) 313 71 95
Fax:  (571)3137118


Washington D.C., May 16, 2002—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) the private sector development arm of the World Bank Group, will invest US$7 million to support the expansion of the leading low-income and small business finance institution in Colombia, Banco Caja Social (BCS).

IFC’s investment will support the expansion of BCS into urban and rural areas throughout Colombia, that have little or no banking access.  It will also help the bank develop new electronic banking products.  The investment will give IFC a stake in the company of 8.4 percent

Bernard Pasquier, IFC’s Director of the Latin America and Caribbean Department, said: “IFC’s investment will be pivotal in catalyzing new capital to enable BCS to grow its existing franchise and to expand downstream into the microfinance market.  IFC is looking forward to bring its expertise in low income banking to BCS, as well as to apply BCS’s successful business model of good consumer banking in other countries.”

BCS is owned by Fundacion Social, a non-profit organization with a mission to develop the economic well-being of the poor in Colombia.  Fundacion Social combines its direct activities with poor communities as a non-government organization, with the sponsorship of a business organization, Banco Caja Social, which provides profitable financial services to the poor.  Banco Caja Social, which is one the financial companies of Fundación Social, has historically been among the most profitable banks in the Colombian banking system.

Banco Caja Social is headquartered in Bogota and has 122 branches in 40 cities throughout Colombia.  With total assets of $510 million, BCS is the 10th largest commercial bank in the country, and focus its operations in lower income clients.  Ninety five percent of its clients are individuals, either salaried or self employed.  Seventy eight percent of them make less than $5,000 annually and 70 percent have only basic education.  Homes and business represent the largest portfolio of BCS.

IFC's mission ( is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people's lives.  IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through the close of the last fiscal year on June 30, 2001, IFC has committed more than $31 billion of its own funds and arranged $20 billion in syndications for 2,636 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC's committed portfolio at the end of FY01 was $14.3 billion.

Banco Caja Social/Colmena