Castries, Saint Lucia, December 11, 2007—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today announced the first trade finance
facility for the Eastern Caribbean, as the Bank of Saint Lucia Ltd joined
the Global Trade Finance Program as an issuing bank.
The Bank of Saint Lucia, a subsidiary of
the East Caribbean Financial Holding Company Ltd, is a leading domestic
financial institution with activities in retail banking, development financing,
mortgage financing, wealth management, and lending to small and medium
Robert Norstrom, Group Managing Director
and General Manager of Bank of Saint Lucia Limited, said, “IFC’s Global
Trade Finance Program will extend and complement our trade capacity by
increasing our network of correspondent banks, while enhancing our ability
to provide customers with trade solutions and access to international markets.
The program will also support the development and expansion of our SME
The IFC Global Trade Finance Program promotes
trade with emerging markets worldwide by supporting flows of goods and
services to and from developing countries. IFC provides guarantee coverage
of bank risk in emerging markets, allowing recipients to expand their trade
finance transactions within an extensive network of countries and banks
and to improve their trade finance coverage.
Kirk Ifill, IFC Resident Representative for
the Caribbean, said, “Today's announcement from St. Lucia comes just a
few days after IFC conducted its first trade training in Trinidad and Tobago
for Caribbean banks. These efforts show IFC's commitment to providing integrated
solutions for financing importers and exporters and to playing a key role
in strengthening the region's financial markets. IFC is helping strong
indigenous banks increase their competitiveness by providing a trade facility
at competitive terms."
IFC’s strategy in the Caribbean focuses
on providing support for the financial sector and capital market development,
while stimulating local companies’ growth and improving their competitiveness.
Promoting private sector participation in infrastructure is also at the
core of IFC’s priorities. IFC will continue addressing the needs of smaller
economies through direct and regional investments, as well as advisory
services and trade finance facilities for local banks.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, fosters
sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing private
sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that poor people have the
opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC committed
$8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through loan participations
and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing countries.
IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more information,
IFC Global Trade Finance Program
Since the launch of the IFC Global Trade
Finance Program in Latin America and the Caribbean in February 2006, IFC
has issued $430 million in guarantees in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, the
Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, and Uruguay. Over 50 percent
of the guarantees issued benefited small and midsize businesses and supported
interregional trade flows between emerging market nations. Main industries
covered include agribusiness, automotives, consumer goods, industrial goods,
commodities, oil and gas, telecommunications, and textiles. For more information,
About the Bank of Saint Lucia
The Bank of Saint Lucia was incorporated
in June 2001 through the merger of the National Commercial Bank of Saint
Lucia and the Saint Lucia Development Bank. A member of the East
Caribbean Financial Holding Group, the bank is the largest on the island
and offers a wide range of services, from SME lending to wealth management.