IFC, the World Bank group organisation for the private sector, is to invest up to US$10 million in preference shares in Banco de las Microfinanzas Bancamía to foster its growth and expand access to productive microfinancing for the least favoured members of Colombian society.
Bancamía operates in the microfinancing sector. It was founded in October 2008 by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation following the conversion into a bank of the Corporación Mundial de la Mujer organisations in Bogotá and Medellin. Bancamía currently deals with over 300,000 customers in 466 municipalities across the country.
This investment by IFC is part of a strategic co-operation agreement signed with the BBVA Microfinance Foundation to promote joint investment in the foundation’s organisations in Latin America so as to help consolidate and assure the future of the sector. In 2009, IFC also invested $7.4 million in a 16.4% stake in the capital of the foundation’s organisation in Peru – Caja Nuestra Gente – to help it grow and expand into rural areas.
Vincent Gouarne, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, has stated that this new financing operation is part of IFC’s objective to strengthen the microfinancing sector in this region. Associating with Bancamía and its shareholders is aimed at providing support for individual entrepreneurship and fairer growth in the country.
BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s chairperson Manuel Méndez del Río is quoted as saying that “We thank IFC for its support and the long-term association that it has established with our foundation. Investment in Bancamía by IFC will strengthen its growth in Colombia, thus favouring the economic and social development of more people who need microfinancing to carry out productive activities”.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunities for people to escape poverty and improve their living conditions. It promotes sustainable economic growth in developing countries by backing the development of the private sector, mobilising capital for private companies and providing advisory and risk-mitigation services for companies and governments. IFC has supported the creation or development of 123 microfinance institutions all over the world, with cumulative investment of US$1,200 million in recent years. Investments by the corporation in financial year 2009 totalled US$14,500 million and helped to channel capital towards developing countries during the financial crisis.