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IFC Provides 4 Million Euro Loan to Opportunity Bank Montenegro


In Washington
Georg Schmidt

Phone: +1 (202) 458-2934

Fax:      +1 (202) 974-4384

Email:
Gschmidt@ifc.org


Washington DC, February 16, 2005—The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has agreed to provide a senior loan of up to 4 million Euro equivalent to Opportunity Bank Montenegro.  Opportunity Bank offers credit and other financial services to local micro and small enterprises .

The investment underscores IFC’s strategy of supporting Montenegro’s private sector by strengthening local financial institutions. IFC’s financing is expected to have a strong developmental impact as it will help create new jobs and accelerate business growth of micro and small enterprises. The loan will also boost confidence in the banking sector and strengthen microfinance banking through Opportunity Bank’s use of commercially-oriented microfinance techniques.

“IFC is committed to helping Montenegro’s financial sector promote the development and growth of micro and small businesses,” said Khosrow Zamani, IFC director for Southern Europe and Central Asia. “The IFC loan to Opportunity Bank is part of a comprehensive regional strategy of finding innovative ways to reach these important markets.  We are very pleased to support Opportunity Bank, which is one of the leading providers of credit and banking services to micro and small businesses in the country,” he added.


Jyrki Koskelo, IFC director for Global Financial Markets added, “This transaction showcases IFC’s support of Montenegrin microentrepreneurs through specialized intermediary institutions, which provide better access to finance.  The loan to Opportunity Bank represents a significant development in IFC’s commercial microfinance activities in the region.”


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) 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, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.