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IFC Extends Partnership with Atlantic Bank to Improve Access to Finance for Entrepreneurs in Belize


In Washington, DC:
Vanessa Bauza
Phone: +1 202 458 1603
E-mail: Vbauza@ifc.org

Belize City, Belize, May 2, 2013 – IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is launching a second phase of its project with Belize’s Atlantic Bank to increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are critical to job creation and economic growth.

With continued support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), IFC is helping Atlantic Bank improve its capacity to serve small and mid-sized business owners and provide them with access to approximately US$35 million in financing by April 2014. Atlantic Bank has 15 locations nationwide and is the third largest bank in Belize in terms of assets and loans disbursed.

“In partnership with IFC, we have solidified our foundation to continue growing our SME business,” said Sandra Bedran, General Manager of Atlantic Bank. “In this second phase, we will work with IFC to develop a more client-focused, performance-guided approach, so that we can better serve the needs of our small and medium entrepreneurs and fill the financing gap that often constrains their businesses.”

Over the past year, IFC Advisory Services has worked with Atlantic Bank to develop its SME strategy, customize credit policies and procedures for SME borrowers, and train staff to underwrite and monitor SME loans. IFC Advisory Services and Atlantic Bank have extended their collaboration to implement new programmatic components designed to accelerate the growth of the bank’s SME portfolio.

“Expanding access to finance for SMEs is a strategic priority for IFC,” said Ghada Teima, IFC Access to Finance Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean. “This project demonstrates IFC’s strong commitment to creating opportunities and unlocking the potential for small business owners to grow their operations and create jobs in Belize.”

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

About Atlantic Bank
Atlantic Bank Ltd, established over 40 years ago, is a 55 percent owned subsidiary of Sociedad Nacional de Inversiones, S.A., a Honduran company. Atlantic Bank has 15 locations across the country and works with individuals, small businesses, and corporations, offering a wide range of banking products and services including credit cards, online banking, savings and deposits, payroll services, and merchant services. For more information, visit www.atlabank.com