BBVA Panama Gets $25 Million to Expand Lending for Small Businesses

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 14, 2012

Above: Panama City

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Banco BBVA Panama today signed an agreement with the IFC to provide $25 million to the bank to support its efforts to expand lending to farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises.

SMEs account for 80 percent of Panama’s total employment, according to the IFC, which is a member of the World Bank Group.

Just 20 percent of these companies have access to bank loans, however, which limits their capacity to grow. The IFC’s five-year credit line aims to increase that capacity, primarily in the agricultural sector.

“IFC’s support to Banco BBVA Panama will support the significant growth of SMEs and agribusiness, which are essential engines of economic growth and job creation in Panama,” said Antonio Alonso, Country Manager of Banco BBVA Panama. “It will also help consolidate our presence in the local financial system, with special focus on rural areas.”

IFC Regional Manager for Mexico and Central America Roberto Albisetti said the IFC looked forward to deepening its relationship with the BBVA Group.

The IFC has a $529.5 million investment portfolio in nine private sector projects in Panama.

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