Bogotá, Colombia — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
strengthened its support to Colombia’s small and medium sized enterprises
(SMEs) with a new US$80 million loan to Banco Pichincha, a bank that
strives to sharply boost its lending to Colombian SMEs and low-income
IFC’s loan, which consists of US$50 million from its own account and $30
million to be mobilized by IFC from other investors, will also reinforce
Banco Pichincha’s role as a private-sector leader in student loans in
Colombia. IFC’s loan is expected to help Banco Pichincha nearly triple its
loans to SMEs by 2019 and also increase its portfolio of tertiary education
“IFC’s support to our institution will help us continue to expand our work
with SMEs and ensure that they are able to access financing for their
operations and growth in Colombia,” said Eduardo Fernández-Salvador, Banco
Pichincha’s chief executive officer. “This loan will also bolster our
education lending for lower to middle income students, which creates a path
for social mobility and can open doors to better, more stable and higher
paying jobs,” he said.
For IFC, the loan to Banco Pichincha is part of its efforts to boost
financial inclusion in Colombia. Recent data suggests that only 53 percent
of SMEs in Colombia have an outstanding loan or line of credit with a
financial institution, compared to 79 percent in Chile. Boosting financial
access for SMEs is crucial to the country’s sustainable growth as they are
key driver of economic activity and job creation.
The loan will also help boost access to tertiary education in Colombia, an
area where the country has made great progress but where many challenges
remain. Coverage for tertiary education in Colombia remains significantly
lower than member countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD), something which is partly attributable to lack of
financing options for potential students.
Pichincha can help close this gap as it is a major player in providing
student loans in Colombia. The bank maintains a relationship with over 480
tertiary education entities in 32 cities in the Country and finances
approximately 94,000 students each year.
The loan is part of wider engagement by IFC with Grupo Pichincha, the
Ecuador-based holding group that controls Banco Pichincha in Colombia, and
which also has operations in Peru, Panama, the United States and Spain. The
group is focused on increasing access to finance to low income households
and SMEs, making it a strategic partner for IFC in the Andean Region.
“Our long-term partnership with Pichincha helps to reach low-income sectors
of the population and to create a more inclusive financial sector in
Colombia,” said Carlos Leiria Pinto, head of IFC for the Andean region.
“With this project, IFC reinforces its compromise with the sustainable
economic development of Colombia and the use of our resources to increase
access to credit,” he said.
In Colombia, IFC is engaged in supporting sectors essential to social and
economic development, such as infrastructure, health, education,
agribusiness, and public-private partnerships to build ports, roads, and
airports. IFC also promotes access to finance for micro, small, and medium
enterprises, and works on improving the investment climate by simplifying
regulations and royalty management.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with
more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our capital, expertise, and
influence, to create opportunity where it’s needed most. In FY15, our
long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $18 billion,
helping the private sector play an essential role in the global effort to
end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,