IFC provides $200 million to Banco Itau Chile to Expand Access to Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises, including Women-Owned Businesses

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The FINANCIAL — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a $200 million investment to Banco Itau Chile to support the expansion of access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including women-owned SMEs, helping to foster the development of a key sector for the Chilean economy. 

IFC’s financing consists of a 5-year $100 million loan on IFC’s own-account and a 3-year $100 million syndicated loan, for which lenders are Banco Santander, Commerzbank, and Wells Fargo. Of the aggregate US$200 million, US$50 million will be allocated towards women-owned SMEs, supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, through IFC’s Banking on Women Program. 

According to SME Finance Forum, 200,000 MSMEs are estimated to be operating in Chile, employing about 40% of the country’s workforce. Despite the relative high penetration of the banking system in Chile, MSMEs still face an estimated $40 billion credit gap.  Women-owned businesses are a large and underserved market segment in the country, representing 30 percent of all the micro, small and medium enterprises. According to an IFC survey, 66 percent of women-owned businesses in Chile are either underserved or not served at all by the financial system. 

IFC’s investment will provide longer-term funding and tailor-made structures for the expansion of Banco Itau Chile’s financing to SMEs, including female-owned businesses, helping to boost the sector’s growth and enhance its productivity. By doing so, it will help promote inclusive growth and job creation in Chile, as well as additional developmental benefits that come with improved credit access to women, such as increased access to quality education, health and housing. 

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This is IFC’s first investment in Banco Itau Chile, and the second in Itau Unibanco Group under IFC’s Banking on Women program, which is playing a catalytic role in helping financial institutions to serve women entrepreneurs in a sustainable and profitable way. Since its launch in 2010, it has made 32 investments totaling more than $950 million globally. Through IFC’s Banking on Women program, this project is supported by the Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility, the first-of-its-kind global facility dedicated to expanding access to capital for women entrepreneurs, launched by IFC and Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative in 2014, according to IFC.

“We are pleased to partner with Banco Itau Chile to help promote the growth of SMEs in Chile, and especially of the women-owned enterprises,” said Salem Rohana, IFC Country Manager for Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay.  “Helping to expand the growth of this sector is a critical part of IFCs strategy to expand opportunities and inclusion in Chile.” 

This financing to Banco Itau Chile is part of IFC’s strategic focus on supporting local financial markets to achieve development impact. IFC aims to achieve these goals through the use of innovative financial products and mobilization, fostering micro, small and medium enterprises, encouraging corporate social responsibility, protecting natural resources through environmentally-sustainable business practices, and promoting business expansion into other emerging markets.

 

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