Press Releases

IFC, ODEF Financiera Promote Access to Finance for Smaller Entrepreneurs in Honduras

In Lima                        
Clara Ugarte Perrin, IFC        
Phone: +511 611 2501

In San Pedro Sula
ODEF Financiera S.A.
Phone: + 504 25581052

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, March 28, 2011—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has agreed to assist ODEF Financiera S.A, Honduras’ largest microfinance institution in terms of number of clients reached, in expanding financial services to impoverished regions of the country, and to women in particular.

The project seeks to update ODEF’s strategic plan for the next five years and strengthen its risk unit. This effort will help ODEF grow in a sustainable way, with special emphasis on women microentrepreneurs who account for 61 percent of the company’s portfolio. The initiative benefits from the financial support of the Dutch government, through the Netherlands-IFC Partnership Program.

Santa Euceda, General Manager of ODEF, said, “This advisory project with IFC will help us strengthen further our credit risk management tools and expand our services, so that we can provide desperately needed financial services to a majority of Honduras’ low-income households and microentrepreneurs.“

In Honduras, micro and small enterprises generate more than 60 percent of employment, but 80 percent of them have never received a loan. This sector is a vital engine for jobs creation and economic development in a country with high levels of poverty and unequal distribution of wealth and debilitating unemployment.

Greta Bull, IFC Advisory Services Program Manager in Latin America and the Caribbean, said, “IFC seeks to help poor people in underserved regions gain access to financial services by providing advisory services to help local financial institutions expand their reach in a strong and sustainable way. ODEF’s focus on low-income woman is well aligned with IFC’s strategy in the region.”

This initiative is part of IFC’s Access to Finance program that helps financial institutions in Central America diversify their product portfolios, improve efficiency, reduce costs, and strengthen risk management and corporate governance practices. IFC plans to expand its advisory services to agrifinance, mobile money transactions, and sustainable energy finance, and help expand financial services to underserved sectors and regions.