Press Releases

IFC Provides $20 Million to Banco Improsa to Increase Lending for Women-Owned Enterprises in Costa Rica

In Washington DC:
Vanessa Bauza

Phone: +1 202 458 1603


San Jose, Costa Rica, January 8, 2015— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing $20 million to Banco Improsa to support lending to local small and medium entrepreneurs. At least 30 percent of that financing is earmarked for enterprises owned or operated by women.  IFC’s long-term financing will also help diversify funding sources for Banco Improsa, a subsidiary of Grupo Financiero Improsa S.A., a leading financial services conglomerate in Costa Rica, with a 30 year history in the market and led by Ms. Marianela Ortuño Pinto, founder and current president.

“In Costa Rica, financing for small and medium enterprises is limited due to short tenors. Also, local banks do not offer products customized to the needs of women-owned enterprises,” said Marianela Ortuño-Pinto, President of Grupo Financiero Improsa. “IFC's longer tenor and expertise is expected to unlock an important new market for Banco Improsa and open an opportunity for us to be pioneers in this sector.”

Women-owned enterprises make up nearly half of all registered small and medium enterprise in Costa Rica, yet many do not have the credit needed to grow their businesses. An assessment by IFC, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, identified a US$635 million credit gap for women-owned enterprises out of a total credit gap of US$2.8 billion for all small and medium-size enterprises.

This financing is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility created by IFC and the Goldman Sachs Foundation to expand access to capital for women entrepreneurs in developing economies and demonstrate the commercial viability of investing in women.

“Our support for Banco Improsa reflects IFC’s commitment to working with key partners that contribute to Costa Rica’s social and economic development and support a more inclusive financial marketplace, particularly for women-owned enterprises,” said Carlos Mayorga, Manager in IFC’s Financial Institutions Group. “We expect to help fill the gap in financing for women entrepreneurs, thereby supporting these key partners in the economy.”

Since Costa Rica became a member of IFC in 1956, IFC has invested $685.8 million in the country’s private sector, including $99.7 million in syndications. We operate in sectors such as infrastructure, with a particular focus on renewable energy, as well as in financial markets, in order to facilitate access to finance for small and medium enterprises. Through our advisory programs with the private sector and the government, we support energy efficiency initiatives as well as efforts to improve Costa Rica’s investment climate and promote new and existing businesses.

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 about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit

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In San José, Costa Rica
Irene Gallegos Gurdián
Phone + (506) 2284-4048 / 2284-4018