Panama City, Panama, September 25,
2013 — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a five-year
US$6 million loan to Banco Delta S.A. (BMF), Panama’s largest microfinance
institution, to support micro and small business entrepreneurs who have
little or no access to formal financial services. It is IFC’s first investment
in the microfinance sector in Panama, which is one of the most underdeveloped
in Central America.
“Banco Delta is pleased to partner
with IFC to increase and diversify its lending to entrepreneurs of micro
and small businesses, many of whom are accessing the formal financial sector
for the first time,” said Banco Delta’s President, Arturo Muller. “These
entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. Microfinance can be a powerful
catalyst, empowering them to grow and thrive.”
Over the past decade, Panama’s economic
growth has been one of the fastest in Latin America. The country has leveraged
its unique geographical position to turn itself into a global center for
trade and logistics, and become the most competitive Central American economy.
However, lack of access to finance continues to limit micro and small enterprises,
which are an engine of job creation. Banco Delta currently lends to approximately
17,000 owners of micro and small businesses and expects to triple that
number in the next five years.
“IFC supports more than 100 microfinance
institutions in over 60 countries to help provide financial services such
as savings, loans, and money transfers that enable poor families to invest
in enterprises, better living conditions, and the health and education
of their children,” said Angela Maria Fonseca, IFC Country Head for Panama.
“Our investment in Banco Delta provides a unique opportunity to partner
with a market leader as it embarks upon an expansion that will broaden
access to finance for smaller businesses.”
Since the early 1990s, IFC has led innovation
in the microfinance sector, using developments in technology, financial
products, and policy to help financial institutions reach a greater number
of people in a more cost-effective way. Rapid growth of the industry over
the past 15 years has helped lenders reach approximately 130 million clients.
IFC’s committed portfolio in Panama
amounts to $571 million. In Panama, IFC is supporting financial intermediaries,
infrastructure and education. We are increasing access to finance for micro,
small, and medium enterprises, improving cellular networks, and supporting
the expansion of the Panama Canal. IFC is also engaged in fostering renewable
energy, with hydro, geothermal and wind-based energy projects to help transition
Central American countries to a cleaner and more efficient energy matrix.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private
enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise,
and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity.
In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion,
leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the
world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit