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IFC Invests in First Regional Credit Bureau in Central America


Corrie Shanahan        
Phone:  (202) 473-2258        

Fax:  (202) 974 4384        

E-mail:  
cshanahan@ifc.org        

Adriana Gomez
Phone:  (202) 458-5204

Fax:  (202) 974-4384

E-mail:  
agomez@ifc.org


Washington, D.C., October 16, 2002—The International Finance Corporation, (IFC), the private sector developing arm of the World Bank Group, will invest US$400,000 in TransUnion Central America, a regional credit bureau in Central America, that will help expand its consumer and commercial credit information services within the region.  TransUnion Central America will be the first credit bureau to provide services throughout Central America.

IFC’s investment is part of a $800,000 total financing plan with Chicago-based TransUnion, a global information solutions provider, and SFI Corporation that will be used to support TransUnion’s expansion in Central America.


TransUnion, a global information solutions provider, will be supplying both consumer and commercial information primarily to financial institutions.  Consumer and commercial credit information helps lenders make better credit decisions, reduce bad loans and increase the volume of business they are undertaking.  It is also a key tool to expand access to finance to previously underserved market segments, including small businesses.


Bernard Pasquier, IFC’s Director for Latin America, said: “IFC’s initiative to support the first regional credit bureau in Central America fits in IFC’s strategy to help regional companies gain access to credit in order to strengthen and expand their businesses.  This pioneer effort will also help strengthen the Central American financial system.  Central America’s governments are taking measures to fortify their credit registries, which will increase transparency.  IFC stands firmly committed behind these country efforts.”


Karl Voltaire, IFC’s Director for Global Financial Markets, added: “IFC’s investment will help improve the current credit information infrastructure in Central America and will allow financial institutions to make better credit decisions while potentially reducing their loan losses. In turn, this will lead to greater access to financing for previously underserved consumers and small businesses in the region.”


“We are very excited about IFC’s investment,” said Manrique Robert, president, TransUnion Central America.  “We expect this to be a major turning point for TransUnion’s Central America expansion and growth, expanding upon our recent entry into Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  Our operations in these countries are eager to partner with a prestigious institution like the IFC to gain the expertise and knowledge needed to build and improve credit conditions.  We are confident that our joint efforts will generate endless benefits to consumers and their respective economies.”


TransUnion  (
www.transunion.com) is a leading global information solutions company that customers trust as a business intelligence partner and commerce facilitator.  TransUnion offers accurate and reliable financial data through a broad range of products and services that enable customers to manage risk and capitalize on market opportunities.  The company uses leading-edge technology coupled with extensive analytical capabilities to prevent fraud and facilitate credit transactions between businesses and consumers across multiple industries and channels, including the Internet.  Founded in 1968, Chicago-based TransUnion employs 3,600 associates that support clients in 24 countries.

SFI Corporation (
www.sficorp.co.cr) has been involved in Central America since 1992.  Its
primary business is factoring and credit services.  SFI successfully placed over 4 million preferred

shares after becoming the first company to trade its shares in US dollars in Costa Rica in 1994 and

has paid over 10 percent a year in dividends to its shareholders.  The company has been a very active

player in the region, especially once it merged with TransUnion, LLC in 1999 and begun its credit

bureau expansion in 2000.  The company's, headquarters are in San Jose, Costa Rica.


IFC’s mission (
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, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.  Since its founding in 1956 through FY02, IFC has committed more than $34 billion of its own funds and arranged $21 billion in syndications for 2,825 companies in 140 developing countries.  IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY02 was $15.1 billion for its own account and $6.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

Trans Union Central America