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LAFISE Group Panama Joins IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program to Support Local Businesses


In Washington, D.C.:                                                                                                   Adriana Gómez
Phone: (202) 458 5204

E-mail:
agomez@ifc.org

In Miami:

LAFISE Group Panama Inc.

Roberto J. Zamora – President
Phone: (305) 374 6001

Email: rzamora@lafise.com


Washington, D.C., October 19, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced that LAFISE Group Panama Inc. has joined its Global Trade Finance Program to expand access to trade finance for small and medium enterprises.

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide by providing partial or full guarantees for risk mitigation.

By joining IFC’s program as an issuing bank, LAFISE will expand its trade finance solutions to small and medium enterprises operating in key export and import sectors in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica. LAFISE focuses on commercial and consumer banking products and provides innovative financial solutions to small and midsize businesses and corporate clients in the region through its local subsidiaries—Banco LAFISE Bancentro, Banco LAFISE Honduras, and Banco LAFISE Costa Rica.

Banco LAFISE Costa Rica’s first operations under the Global Trade Finance Program included two import financing transactions totaling US$1 million to support the international trade of medical equipment, transportation equipment, home goods, and other products.

Roberto Zamora, President of LAFISE said, “We are extremely pleased to join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. This facility will enhance our ability to serve our customers in the region and increase trade flows that generate prosperity for our countries and our economies.”

Roberto Albisetti, IFC Country Manager for Mexico and Central America said, “We welcome LAFISE to our program. This deal shows IFC’s ability to provide integrated solutions for financing importers and exporters and our commitment to support Central America’s financial market.”

IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program issued over $1.2 billion dollars in guarantees to facilitate trade flows in Latin America and the Caribbean in fiscal 2010. Our network includes 54 issuing banks in 19 countries in the region. Nearly half the guarantees issued benefited local small and midsize businesses and supported interregional trade flows between emerging market nations. The program has issued $8.7 billion in guarantees worldwide. Latin America and the Caribbean has been the most active region for the past two fiscal years, representing about a third of the program’s total volume.

For more information contact Antonio Alves, Senior Regional Head of Trade Finance for Latin America and the Caribbean, at Aalves1@ifc.org, or visit www.ifc.org/gtfp.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $18 billion in fiscal 2010. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About LAFISE Group Panama Inc.

LAFISE was founded over 25 years ago by Mr. Roberto J. Zamora. Group activities initially concentrated on Stock and FX brokerage services. In 1991, the Group expanded into banking, through its subsidiary Banco de Crédito Centramericano in Nicaragua (now Banco LAFISE Bancentro). This acquisition was followed by the purchase of Banco Exterior de Costa Rica (now Banco LAFISE Costa Rica) and Nicaragua-based Almacenadora del Agro, (now Almacenadora LAFISE), and the establishment of Seguros LAFISE, S.A. in Nicaragua. In addition, the group acquired Honduras’s Banco Futuro (now Banco LAFISE Honduras) in 2004 and opened Banco LAFISE Panama, S.A. in 2006.  LAFISE has operations in Central America, the Caribbean, Venezuela, Mexico and Colombia, with assets in excess of $2 Billion and almost 3,000 employees.  It serves over 300,000 customers across eleven countries. For more information, visit www.lafise.com.