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Banco Financiero Comercial Hondureña S.A. joins IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program


In IFC Washington DC:
Adriana Gómez

Phone: 1-202-458-5204

E-mail: agomez@ifc.org


Washington, August 5, 2008—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced the first trade finance facility for Honduras, as Banco Financiero Comercial Hondureña SA (Ficohsa or the Bank) joined the Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP) as an issuing bank.

Banco Financiero Comercial Hondureña S.A., a subsidiary of Grupo Financiero Ficohsa, is a leading domestic financial institution which initiated operations as a commercial bank in 1994. The Bank initially focused the corporate segment, but in recent years has expanded its business strategy to the small and medium enterprises segment and the retail banking segment. Ficohsa conducts operations through a network of 79 branches and 300 ATMs located in 14 Honduran cities, a representation office in Florida-US and money remittances services in 7 US states.

Earlier in 2008, IFC had established a partnership with Ficohsa to support the origination of housing and small and medium enterprise (SME) loans, through a USD20 million senior loan to fund the Bank. IFC’s strategy in Central American countries is to support the competitiveness of the private sector through investment and advisory services in areas with social developments components, such as housing and SME finance.

Camilo Atala, Ficohsa’s President, said, “We are pleased to be the first bank in Honduras to join the GTFP and to strengthen our relationship with IFC. Through the program, Ficohsa will improve its trade capacity by broadening its access to international markets and extending its geographic coverage.”

Marcos Brujis, IFC Country Manager noted, “IFC’s support, through the GTFP, to one of the locally-owned relevant players in the banking system can contribute to the development and expansion of trade solutions for Honduran companies.”  

Launched in 2005, the IFC Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with the emerging markets worldwide by providing risk mitigation. By extending and complementing the banks capacity to deliver trade finance solutions, the program aims to increase developing countries’ share of global trade and promote south-south flows of goods and services.  The program supports an extensive network of banks globally and has provided guarantees to facilitate trade for USD 3.5 bi.  The IFC Global Trade Finance Program is managed in the region by Antonio Alves, Head of Trade Finance for Latin America and the Caribbean Region.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

IFC Global Trade Finance Program in Latin America and the Caribbean

Since the launch of the Global Trade Finance Program, IFC has issued $750 million in guarantees to facilitate trade flows with Latin America and the Caribbean. The network of issuing banks for the region has expanded to 25 banks in eleven countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Saint Lucia, and Uruguay. More than 40% percent of the guarantees issued benefited small and midsize businesses from the region and supported interregional trade flows between emerging market nations. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org/gtfp.

About Banco Ficohsa

Banco Ficohsa is the third-largest bank in terms of portfolio and deposits in the Honduran banking system. It is owned by Grupo Financiero Ficohsa, a financial group that comprises the bank, an insurance company, a foreign exchange house, and a brokerage house.  The bank began operations in 1994, after transforming from a financiera, a nonbank deposit-taking institution founded in 1991. At year-end 2007, it had nearly 300,000 borrowers. Banco Ficohsa has a BBB+ rating by Fitch, on the local scale.

In Banco Financiero Comercial Hondureña S.A.:
Adda de Molina
Phone: 504-239-6410
E-mail: amolina@grupoficohsa.hn