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Bank of Saint Lucia Joins IFC Global Trade Finance Program


In IFC:
Adriana Gomez
Tel: +(202) 458 5204
E-mail: agomez@ifc.org

Lotte Pang
Tel: +(202) 458-0952
E-mail: lpang@ifc.org

In Bank of St. Lucia
Anderson Lake
Manager, Group Corporate Communications
Tel: + 1 (758) 456-6199
Mobile:+1 (758) 285-2980
E-mail: Anderson.Lake@ecfh.com

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 enterprises.

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 business.”

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.


About IFC
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, visit www.ifc.org.

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, visit www.ifc.org/gtfp.

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.