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
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
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.
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
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.