San Jose, Costa Rica, Feb 28, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is helping Costa Rican financial cooperative
COOPENAE increase the availability of financial services for micro and
small enterprises in the country, spurring job creation and economic growth.
Micro and small enterprises are a significant driver of the Costa Rican
economy, representing 94 percent of formal companies and providing 33 percent
of private sector jobs. Yet they are underserved by financial institutions.
This initiative, supported by the government of Spain’s Spanish Fund for
Latin America and the Caribbean, will provide advisory services to help
COOPENAE identify areas for improvement in its current micro and small
enterprise credit operations and strengthen its institutional capabilities
to better serve this market. In addition, IFC is providing $15 million
in financing to help COOPENAE to expand its operations in the country.
COOPENAE, Costa Rica's biggest savings and credit cooperative and fifth
largest private financial institution, has started to address a significant
component of the micro and small enterprise segment, due to the saturation
of its original consumer loan target market and the need to diversify risks.
"The mission of COOPENAE focuses on improving the quality of life
of our partners by directing our efforts to the productive sector of the
country and ensuring a greater competitiveness through financing for micro
and small enterprises,” said Adrian Alvarez, COOPENAE’s General Manager.
Dan Shepherd, IFC Acting Program Manager for Latin America and the Caribbean,
said: “This project shows IFC’s commitment in Central America to fostering
opportunities that develop regional capital markets and strengthen local
financial institutions. As in other countries in Latin America, micro and
small enterprises are the backbone of the economy in Costa Rica, so expanding
access to finance to this segment is paramount for economic growth in the
COOPENAE was created in 1966 to serve the public education system. The
cooperative currently has over 79,000 registered members and its operations
are conducted nationwide through its 19 offices. COOPENAE is the largest
regulated financial cooperative in Costa Rica in terms of assets and loans
($686 million and $468 million, respectively) and has a strong deposit
base ($382 million). For more information about COOPENAE, visit www.coopenae.fi.cr.
About the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (SFLAC)
SFLAC is a trust fund established by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and
Competitiveness to provide resources to enhance the impact of the World
Bank Group´s development activities, both analytical and operational in
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in developing countries. We create
opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We do
so by providing financing to help businesses employ more people and supply
essential services, by mobilizing capital from others, and by delivering
advisory services to ensure sustainable development. In a time of global
economic uncertainty, our new investments climbed to a record $19 billion
in fiscal 2011, in more than 500 projects in 102 countries. For more
information, visit www.ifc.org.