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Financial Institutions

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Development Impact



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Financial Institutions Group

IFC believes that sound, inclusive, and sustainable financial markets are essential to building shared prosperity and eradicating poverty. They ensure efficient resource allocation, create jobs, spur economic growth and play a critical role in private sector development.  Yet it is estimated that 2.5 billion adults lack access to savings or credit, and 200 million micro, small and medium businesses have no access to credit.

IFC investment and advisory teams offer joint solutions to our financial intermediary clients that address their financing needs and offer know-how and tools to use the capital to their best advantage.


The Financial Institutions Group is committed to providing universal access to finance by 2020. Working through financial intermediaries allows IFC to support far more micro, small, and medium enterprises than we would be able to on our own. We work with a network of 900 financial intermediaries in more than 120 countries.  Using a combination of investment and advice, we help strengthen financial institutions and overall financial systems - including capital markets – to enable them to play a constructive role in economic growth.


The Financial Institutions Group’s total committed portfolio is about $20 billion. At the end of 2012, our financial-intermediary clients provided about 30 million MSME loans to companies which in turn employed more than 180 million people.


We also encourage financial institutions to become more involved in strategic sectors that, while important to the development agenda, might not ordinarily attract much private sector capital. These include women-owned businesses, climate change and agri-finance and underserved regions such as fragile and conflict-affected states. Through our investment clients, we help support a full range of financial services such as insurance, housing, capital market development, trade finance as well as loans for individual micro entrepreneurs and small businesses.


Our investments are often accompanied by advice. This gives our clients the benefit of expertise from seasoned sector specialists and helps to addressing systemic issues such as risk management, corporate governance and the introduction of environmental and social standards. Our projects are tailored to include assistance to banks and specialized financial institutions to improve their ability to provide financial services to micro, small, and medium enterprises.


IFC’s approach to environmental and social risk management (E&S) helps build the capacity of our financial-institution clients to assess and mitigate their own E&S risks, in a manner commensurate with the level of exposure to such risks. The 2012 update to the IFC Sustainability strengthened our risk management and transparency with regard to our financial-institution clients.



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