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IFC’s Equity Investment and Financing to La Hipotecaria Will Expand Housing Finance in Central America, Colombia


In Washington, D.C.:
Adriana Gomez, IFC

Phone: (202) 458-5204

E-mail:
AGomez@ifc.org

In Panama City:

Giselle de Tejeira, La Hipotecaria

Phone: (507) 300-8500

E-mail:
gtejeira@lahipotecaria.com


Washington D.C., April 29, 2010—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has invested $3.5 million in equity in the Central America housing finance company La Hipotecaria (Holding), Inc., to increase its lending program for lower-income households in Panama and El Salvador and to expand into Colombia.

IFC has also provided an additional $25 million to La Hipotecaria’s three subsidiaries in El Salvador, Panama, and Colombia. This is IFC’s second financing to the company.


La Hipotecaria Holding provides housing finance services for low- to middle-income segments in Panama and El Salvador, and soon in Colombia.  In 2004, IFC provided a $25 million loan to strengthen the company’s housing finance program. With IFC’s new financing, La Hipotecaria will be able to grow its lending program 12 percent annually, to reach more than 26,000 households by 2014.


“We welcome IFC as a shareholder in La Hipotecaria and as a valued long-term partner,” said John Raushchkolb, La Hipotecaria’s General Manager. “This new financing shows IFC’s commitment to supporting our regional expansion to increase housing finance services for the low- and middle-income markets in the countries where we operate.”


High levels of liquidity in Central America’s financial sector have resulted in double-digit growth of mortgage lending in recent years, but these loans have been targeted largely at the highest income segment.  The majority of the banks do not yet have the capacity to effectively serve the middle- and lower-income segments. With IFC’s financing, La Hipotecaria will be able to continue addressing this gap as a specialized financial institution with the technical and financial capabilities to provide affordable residential mortgages.  


In Colombia, the large banks are focused mainly on the middle- and high-income segments of the economy, leaving room for institutions such as La Hipotecaria to provide housing finance within the middle- to lower-income groups.


Vincent Gouarne,  IFC Director of Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “IFC’s equity investment and financing to La Hipotecaria are part of our pledge to support the company’s expansion from Central America into Colombia and help address the housing finance needs of underserved segments of the population in the region.”


About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing capital for private enterprise, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit
www.ifc.org.

About La Hipotecaria

La Hipotecaria is a full-service housing finance company specialized in originating, servicing, and securitizing residential mortgages. La Hipotecaria focuses its product offerings to individuals mostly in the low- to middle-income segments of the population of Panama and El Salvador, with average mortgage loans of $25,000.  La Hipotecaria is now expanding its successful operations in the Colombian market. For more information, visit
http://www.lahipotecaria.com/index.htm.