Press release: Citi and Banco Guayaquil Sign $20 Million Loan Agreement Benefiting Microfinance in Ecuador
Citibank, N.A. Ecuador Branch, with support from Citi Inclusive Finance and Banco Guayaquil, reached a three-year, $20 million financing agreement in September to expand financial inclusion in Ecuador by supporting Guayaquil’s ability to provide micro-loans through its “Banco del Barrio” program.
With over 520,000 previously-unbanked clients that now have “Amiga Accounts” and a $70m loan book to finance microenterprises, Banco Guayaquil’s “Banco del Barrio” is one of the pioneering and most comprehensive inclusive finance programs in Latin America, significantly expanding access to financial services in Ecuador by leveraging a network of more than 4,400 non-bank customer touchpoints across the country.
“This agreement underscores Citi’s strength in consistently identifying opportunities to serve our clients and the community, taking advantage of Citi’s global network and broad platform of financial products and services,” said Elzbieta Czetwertynska, Ecuador Citi Country Officer.
Citi has had a continued presence in Ecuador for 58 years, offering world-class financial products and services while contributing to the nation’s development. The agreement with Citi not only represents a new source of financing for Banco Guayaquil, but also offers an effective way to drive its microfinance operations over the long term.
“The aim of this agreement is to keep supporting financial inclusion, encouraging the development and growth of small businesses in Ecuador, through access to productive loans that can help boost our country’s economy. Banco Guayaquil will continue promoting this line of credit through our different channels and “Banco del Barrio,” said Julio Mackliff, Executive Vice-President of Banco Guayaquil S.A.
The agreement is part of a $250 million strategic agreement between Citi and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) to fund inclusive finance programs in emerging markets. OPIC seeks out private capital to promote the development of strategic sectors with high social impact.
“The partnership between OPIC and Citi allows the U.S. government to work with the private sector to reach those most in need in the toughest markets,” said Ray Washburne, OPIC President and CEO. “We are pleased to support Citi’s agreement with Banco Guayaquil, which will not only create new economic opportunities for microenterprise in Ecuador, but likely provide a tremendous benefit to women entrepreneurs who make up the majority of account holders.”
Citi has provided nearly $60 million in local funding for microenterprises in Ecuador over the past decade in collaboration with strategic partners. These types of agreements have contributed to the development and growth of the inclusive finance sector within the country’s financial industry.
“In Ecuador, where nearly half the population is unbanked according to the World Bank, inclusive access to safe, affordable financial services is critically important,” said Jorge Rubio Nava, Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. “This partnership will enable Banco Guayaquil to further enhance the value of its Banco del Barrio network to the people of Ecuador, providing mainstream financial services that are inclusive by design.”
Photo courtesy of Bioversity International.