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IFC Partners with Southeast Bank to Enhance Trade Finance in Bangladesh


In New Delhi:
Minakshi Seth

Phone:  +91 11 4111 1058

E-mail:
 mseth@ifc.org


Dhaka, April 23, 2007—IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that Bangladesh’s Southeast Bank is joining its Global Trade Finance Program.  IFC is providing Southeast Bank with a $5 million facility within the program.

The Global Trade Finance Program supports trade with emerging markets worldwide and promotes the flow of goods and services between developing countries.  IFC provides partial or full guarantees against underlying trade instruments and covers the payment risk of participating issuing banks.  The program allows issuing banks, such as Southeast Bank, to increase the volume and value of trade transactions, with enhanced tenors and access to competitive pricing terms.

Neaz Ahmed, Managing Director of Southeast Bank, welcomed the partnership by saying, “We are delighted to extend our relationship with IFC through its Global Trade Finance Program. This will help us expand our network of correspondent banks and create new and valuable business opportunities for our clients in Bangladesh and across the world.”

IFC’s support to Southeast Bank fits well with its strategy to partner with financial institutions and banks that are committed to developing Bangladesh’s corporate and small and medium enterprise sectors. IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program will provide Southeast Bank with risk coverage in a difficult market and a global network that will help grow its trade finance business.  This paves the way for countries like Bangladesh to increase their share of global trade.

Per Kjellerhaug, IFC’s Country Manager for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, said, “The Global Trade Finance Program is an important mechanism to get local banks into an active global network that facilitates transactions in challenging markets, promotes competitive financing, and builds correspondent bank relationships with new institutions on a low-risk basis. Trade finance is one good example of the many products IFC offers to help develop a sector."

Trade development and advisory services for issuing banks represent an integral part of IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program. Advisory services modules include basic and intermediate courses on trade finance. In some cases, IFC places experienced trade finance bankers with issuing banks to help them develop their trade finance and other banking skills.

IFC’s relationship with Southeast Bank goes back to 2003, when the bank became a financial partner with IFC Advisory Services in the region—the SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility. An initial diagnostic study and strategy workshop were conducted and a capacity-building IT project was implemented based on the gaps identified. Other ventures included projects for obtaining ISO Certification for banking operations, a credit-scoring workshop, SME banking exposure tours, and a workshop to develop SME marketing skills.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries. IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products have committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.

About the IFC SouthAsia Enterprise Development Facility

IFC-SEDF is a multidonor funded facility managed and operated by IFC.  One of 11 such programs managed by IFC worldwide, the facility is set up to promote the growth of SMEs in the region.  IFC-SEDF is jointly funded by IFC, the governments of the Netherlands and Norway, the European Commission, DFID (UK), CIDA (Canada), and the Asian Development Bank. It provides increased access to finance and quality business development services to projects in Bangladesh, Bhutan, northeast India, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. IFC-SEDF also works to create a business-enabling environment and supports value addition to firms through sector development, advisory services, capacity-building programs, training, and research.

About Southeast Bank

Southeast Bank was incorporated in 1995 and caters to the needs of the corporate and small and medium enterprise sector in Bangladesh. Its main products include working capital funding (cash credit and overdrafts) and trade finance (fund based facilities, mainly post-import finance as well as non fund-based facilities).