Castries, St. Lucia, May 13, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, announced today that it will help the
Bank of Saint Lucia extend financing to corporate entities and expand access
to finance for local small and medium enterprises.
IFC will provide a $20 million loan
and advisory services to help the bank develop and implement an SME strategy.
This initiative is part of IFC’s regional program to increase the level
of credit available to the region’s smaller businesses and microentrepreneurs.
The program provides participating financial institutions with investment
and advisory services to help expand their reach to low- and middle-income
Robert Norstrom, Group Managing Director
and General Manager of Bank of Saint Lucia Limited, said, “This commitment
from IFC will help us fulfill our mandate to finance corporate entities,
while ensuring that SMEs have access to funds for starting and growing
their businesses. The Bank of St. Lucia has been involved in corporate
and development financing since its inception and will continue to help
our customers transition from SMEs to larger enterprises.”
Kirk Ifill, IFC Resident Representative
for the Caribbean, said, “This investment strengthens our relationship
with the Bank of St. Lucia. It also demonstrates our commitment to fostering
private sector development in the region by helping local financial institutions
expand their operations.” The bank also joined the IFC Global Trade Finance
Program in 2007 as an issuing bank.
IFC’s strategy in the Caribbean focuses
on providing support for the financial sector and capital market development,
while stimulating the growth of local companies and improving their competitiveness.
Promoting private sector participation in infrastructure is also a priority.
IFC will continue to address the needs of smaller economies through direct
and regional investments as well as through advisory services and trade
finance facilities for local banks. Since 2000, IFC has provided and mobilized
more than $1.3 billion in financing for the Caribbean in such sectors as
financial markets, infrastructure, information and communications technology,
manufacturing and services, health, and education.
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 Bank of Saint Lucia
The Bank of Saint Lucia Limited was
incorporated in June 2001. It is a subsidiary of the East Caribbean Financial
Holding Company Limited. The largest banking institution in Saint Lucia,
it has a 40 percent market share and offers a wide range of services, including
commercial banking, investment banking, development banking, and convenience
banking services. As of December 2007, the bank had a total asset base
of 1.6 billion East Caribbean dollars with Tier I capital amounting to
EC$253 million. For more information, visit www.ecfh.com.