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IFC Boosts Lending to Small and Medium Enterprises in St. Lucia


In Washington, D.C.:
Lotte Pang
Phone: +1 202 758 4290
E-mail: Lpang@ifc.org


Adriana Gomez
Phone: + 1 202 458 5204
E-mail: AGomez@ifc.org

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 borrowers.  

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.

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 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.