Washington, D.C., October 3, 2005—Visa
International and the International Finance Corporation, the private sector
arm of the World Bank Group, today announced an agreement to support the
development of credit bureaus in developing economies. Visa International
will be the first private sector organization to contribute to IFC’s Global
Credit Bureau Program.
Visa will provide financial support to IFC's Global Credit Bureau Program
in emerging and developing markets which in the first year of the program
will include Brazil, Bulgaria, Nigeria, the Philippines, Romania, Ukraine,
the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Further, Visa will provide
technical support where needed, which may include sharing expertise on
credit risk management and disseminating best practices to banks. Technical
assistance funding for the Global Credit Bureau Program is also provided
by the governments of Australia, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, and IFC.
"Visa International is committed to extending the efficiencies of
electronic payments to communities and economies around the world,"
said Christopher Rodrigues, president and CEO of Visa International. "Electronic
payments reduce underground economies, bring greater transparency, and
attract capital and consumers to the banking system. When coupled
with the judicious use of credit, electronic payment systems can play a
critical role in helping small business grow. The development of
strong credit bureaus is vital to that process."
Assaad Jabre, IFC's acting executive vice president, said, "Private
credit bureaus are an important tool for the growth of private sector enterprises
in developing countries; yet a large number of IFC member countries still
have no, or inadequate, credit bureaus. IFC's Global Credit Bureau
Program aims to meet this critical need by introducing international best
practice in credit reporting, corporate governance, and risk management."
IFC is an internationally recognized leader in advancing credit bureau
development. Since 2000, it has created or significantly improved
credit bureaus in six countries, completed feasibility work in 14 countries,
and-together with the World Bank-mapped the credit reporting infrastructure
and needs in more than 100 countries.
The program supports private credit bureau development in more than 30
countries through feasibility studies, legal and regulatory advice, research,
public awareness projects, and long-term coaching and support. IFC works
with financial institutions to improve their understanding of the value
and use of credit information. IFC will also address data protection
and consumer rights by working with governments, regulators, and credit
bureaus, and by supporting consumer education programs on credit reporting.
The Global Credit Bureau Program complements IFC's efforts in expanding
access to finance to the poor and underserved. In FY05, IFC financed
more than 100 financial markets projects in 50 countries for more than
$2.2 billion. In addition, IFC provided financial markets technical
assistance in more than 130 projects in 56 countries, worth $130 million
in donor commitments as of June 2005.
The International Finance Corporation is the private sector arm of the
World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C. IFC coordinates
its activities with the other institutions of the World Bank Group but
is legally and financially independent. Its 178 member countries
provide its share capital and collectively determine its policies.
The mission of IFC is to promote sustainable private sector investment
in developing and transition 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 FY05, IFC has committed more than $49 billion of its own
funds and arranged $24 billion in syndications for 3,319 companies in 140
developing countries. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Visa connects cardholders, merchants, and financial institutions through
the world's largest electronic payments network. Visa products allow
buyers and sellers to conduct commerce with ease and confidence in both
the physical and virtual worlds. As an association owned by 21,000
member financial institutions, Visa is committed to the sustained growth
of electronic payment systems to support the needs of all stakeholders
and to drive economic growth. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.