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.”
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