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IFC Investment to Expand Access to Housing and SME Finance in Honduras


Contacts:
Adriana Gomez
Phone: (202) 458 5204
E-mail: agomez@ifc.org

Lotte Pang
Phone: (202) 458-0952
E-mail:
lpang@ifc.org


February 15, 2008, Washington, D.C.—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that it will invest in Banco Ficohsa in Honduras, enabling the bank to increase lending to entrepreneurs and to those seeking housing finance.

IFC will invest up to $20 million in debt and over $400,000 in advisory services to help Banco Ficohsa streamline and expand its lending to small and medium enterprises and its housing finance operations, including mortgages and home improvement loans.  IFC identified Ficohsa as an effective partner because its strong performance, sound financial indicators, and an extensive network in Honduras will enable a positive impact across the country.

Camilo Atala, CEO of Banco Ficohsa, said, “We welcome this first step in what we hope will be a long and productive relationship with IFC. The combined investment and advisory services will enable us to better support our housing finance and SME clients and to expand our reach to new customers.”

Jyrki Koskelo, IFC Vice President for Global Financial Markets, said, “IFC is committed to promoting access to finance in key sectors such as housing and SMEs. Bringing together IFC’s expertise in these sectors and the country-wide reach of Banco Ficohsa will allow us to have a significant impact in Honduras.”  

IFC will provide Banco Ficohsa with advisory support on housing and SME finance over a two-year period. The advisory services will focus on upgrading and reinforcing the policies, market strategy, credit methodology, and portfolio administration of both business lines at the bank. IFC will also work with the bank to reinforce its corporate governance policies, practices, and procedures.

This commitment is IFC’s second investment in Honduras’s financial sector and IFC’s first credit granted in Honduras. IFC’s strategy in the country is to support the financial sector by promoting access to finance. IFC also aims to implement programs that help simplify administrative procedures and business regulations at the municipal level to improve the country’s business environment. As of June 2007, IFC had a total committed portfolio of $660 million in Central America.
       
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.

About Banco Ficohsa
Banco Ficohsa is the third-largest bank in terms of loan
portfolio and deposits in the Honduran banking system.  Banco Ficohsa is part of 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 nonbank financial institution, founded in 1991. Banco Ficohsa has a network of over 75 branches and 300 ATMs throughout the country. At year-end 2007, it had nearly 300,000 borrowers. Banco Ficohsa has a BBB+rating (positive perspective) by Fitch, on the local scale.