Port Vila, Vanuatu, February 19, 2013
—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has acquired a 15 percent equity stake in the National Bank of Vanuatu for $2.2 million to help boost the bank’s competitiveness and expand access to finance in rural areas of the country.
IFC’s investment comes in the form of subscribing to the bank’s newly issued shares. It is co-investing in the bank with Vanuatu National Provident Fund, a local investor managing employee-retirement funds. Vanuatu National Provident Fund is investing $2.2 million.
“We believe that there is real demand for banking services in rural Vanuatu and we are committed to developing products to serve this sector,” said Bob Hughes, managing director of the National Bank of Vanuatu. “IFC’s support will broaden our shareholder base and enable us to remain competitive while we continue to roll out our rural finance program.”
In addition to the capital injection, IFC is planning to advise the bank on how to strengthen its internal risk management, corporate governance, internal audit and credit processes.
Sérgio Pimenta, IFC’s director for East Asia Pacific said: “Becoming a shareholder in the National Bank of Vanuatu enables us to give more people – especially those living in rural areas – access to financial services and aligns with our strategy of bringing both investment and advisory services to our local clients in the Pacific.”
The National Bank of Vanuatu is the country’s fourth-largest bank and the only one that caters to rural clients. It has 25 branches operating on 15 of Vanuatu’s 65 populated islands. Around a third of its customers are microenterprises learning to use banking services via the bank’s financial literacy education program.
A key priority for IFC in the Pacific is to provide investment and advisory services to financial institutions to better serve micro, small, and medium enterprises, as well as improve livelihoods and create economic opportunities by expanding access to finance in rural areas.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit