Dhaka, June 26, 2007 — IFC, the
private sector arm of the World Bank Group, today announced that Export
Import Bank of Bangladesh Limited (Exim Bank) is joining its Global Trade
Finance Program. IFC is providing Exim Bank with a facility of up
to $5 million within the program. This will be IFC's first facility to
an Islamic bank in the country.
Paolo Martelli, IFC Regional Director
for South Asia, noted, “In Bangladesh, where the Muslim population exceeds
88 percent, Islamic banking is expected to increase its foothold significantly
in coming years. Better regulations and risk management tools are expected
to gradually improve the operating environment for Islamic banks.”
IFC’s support to Exim 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 Exim
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.
Kazi Masihur Rahman, Managing Director
of Exim Bank, welcomed the partnership, saying, “We are delighted to establish
our relationship with IFC through its Global Trade Finance Program. IFC’s
support will help us create new and valuable business opportunities for
our clients in Bangladesh and around the world.”
The IFC 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 Exim Bank, to increase the volume and value of trade transactions,
with enhanced tenors and access to competitive pricing terms.
Per Kjellerhaug, IFC Country Manager
for Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, said, “The Global Trade Finance Program
is one good example of the many products IFC offers to help develop a sector.
It 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 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
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 Exim Bank
Exim Bank was established in June 1999 by 33 founding shareholders representing
industry and trade in Bangladesh. It started as a conventional commercial
bank but converted to a full-fledged Islamic Sharia-based bank in July
2004. The bank made its initial public offer in 2004 and is a listed entity
on two bourses in the country. It had a rights issue in 2006 to augment
its capital base. The bank has grown significantly and now has 32 branches
covering both metropolitan and rural areas in Bangladesh. Its main focus
is trade finance, although it offers a full suite of savings and investment
products for its corporate and SME clients.