Small and medium enterprises and low-income individuals across the region struggle to access financial services. Facilitating access to credit lines and other financial products, such as savings and insurance, is crucial to economic development and improved quality of life at the base of the economic pyramid. In Latin America and the Caribbean, IFC's Access to Finance (A2F) business line offers services in the following areas:
Microfinance - IFC assists microfinance institutions (MFIs) to transform into regulated MFIs or banks, enabling them to offer a broader range of services and develop a more diversified funding base. IFC also assists MFIs to expand their reach into new product offerings and new geographic areas, particularly underserved areas.
Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Banking - IFC offers strategic and institution-building support to assist financial institutions to develop a customized approach to SME lending. This involves an operational assessment with a focus on SME market strategy development, market segmentation, credit risk management, and management information systems (MIS), followed by support to implement the activities required to put the SME strategy in place.
Credit Bureaus -Credit bureaus lower the risks and costs of lending to micro, small and medium enterprises and low-income individuals without credit histories. IFC provides technical assistance and expert advice on the development of credit reporting infrastructure through feasibility studies, legal and regulatory advice, research, public awareness projects, and long-term coaching.
Sustainable Energy Finance (SEF) - IFC works with financial institutions to build a pipeline of SEF-eligible projects and facilitates market relationships to enable financial institutions to generate their own pipeline of sustainable energy deals. IFC is also working to improve the skills and knowledge of actors in the market and developing alliances between market players and financial institutions.
Housing Finance - IFC works with financial institutions to extend construction loans and mortgages to lower and middle income households. IFC's Mortgage Lending Toolkit assists mortgage providers to design innovative products and services at every stage of the life cycle, from marketing to servicing of the loans.
Mobile Financial Services – IFC assists financial institutions with the design of pilot programs, pricing, agent network and commission structures, business processes, marketing strategies and key performance indicators.IFC also supports financial institutions with roll out of products to test a business model across a value chain and understand barriers to user uptake.
Risk Management and Corporate Governance - IFC assists financial institutions to strengthen risk management practices, including: risk governance, market risk, liquidity risk, credit risk, operational risk, asset-liability management and capital adequacy. IFC also helps FIs improve their practices in Corporate Governance (CG), including: commitment to good CG, functions and responsibilities of the Board of Directors, control environment and processes, transparency and disclosure, and shareholders’ rights.