Press Releases

IFC and Sagicor Bank Support Access to Finance for Jamaica’s Entrepreneurs

In Washington, D.C.:
Vanessa Bauza
Phone: (202) 458-1603

Kingston, January 22, 2014 - IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Sagicor Bank Jamaica Limited strengthen its banking practices to provide better financial services and increase access to credit for small and mid-sized local businesses with support from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development of Canada.

Jamaica has approximately 200,000 formal micro, small, and medium enterprises, of which 40 percent are owned by women. However, an estimated 65 percent of this sector is under or un-served by financial institutions, which constrains entrepreneurs’ ability to grow, create jobs and contribute to the overall Jamaican economy. IFC is helping Sagicor Bank address barriers to lending for these entrepreneurs, reduce the credit gap, and support job creation and economic growth.

“Sagicor Bank is pleased  to partner with IFC to increase and diversify its lending to small and mid-sized enterprises, many of which are accessing the formal financial sector for the first time,” said Philip Armstrong, Managing Director of Sagicor Bank. “Our goal is to help meet the demand for financing in the SME finance market in Jamaica.”

Small and mid-sized businesses are often seen as high-risk borrowers and there is limited credit information for banks to make informed decisions. The launch of Jamaica’s first two credit bureaus in 2013, with support from IFC, is providing a critical tool to enable financial institutions to share credit information and better manage lending risks. IFC’s work with Sagicor Bank is a next step in facilitating access to finance for small and mid-sized businesses.

“IFC is committed to supporting a more inclusive financial marketplace in Jamaica,” said Rajeev Gopal, IFC’s Resident Representative in Jamaica. “Our advisory work with Sagicor Bank provides a unique opportunity to help them become a market leader in SME financing.”

Since Jamaica became a member of IFC in 1964, IFC has invested $662.3 million in the country’s private sector, including $234.2 million in syndications. IFC’s strategy in Jamaica is focused on improving the business environment and supporting public-private partnerships in energy, transport and logistics infrastructure, to help address climate change challenges and reach low-income individuals. IFC supports the development of financial markets by helping micro, small and medium enterprises gain better access to finance, and advising banks to help them reach these underserved segments.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in more than 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. In FY13, our investments climbed to an all-time high of nearly $25 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit

About Sagicor Bank

Sagicor Bank was founded in 1983 as PanCaribbean Merchant Bank, and is a subsidiary of Sagicor Financial Corporation. The Bank offers checking and savings accounts; retail, corporate and business loans; project finance; trade finance; and leasing products through five branches in Jamaica.

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