IFC Helps Largest Lao Commercial Bank Improve Trade Financing for Importers and Exporters


WEBWIRE – Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Vientiane, Lao PDR — IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a trade finance line of $5 million to Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public, the largest commercial bank in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. This will allow the bank to help smaller Lao private companies increase trade, generate foreign exchange, and create jobs.

The transaction made Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public the first Lao bank to join IFC’s Global Trade Finance Program network. Since its inception in 2005, the program has issued more than 13,000 guarantees totaling $20 billion to banks for trade-related payments in emerging markets. The program will help Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public cover payment risk in granting trade financing to local companies, mostly small and medium enterprises.

“Partnering with IFC helps extend the capacity of Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public in delivering trade finance solutions to local importers and exporters,” said Vankham Voravong, the bank’s managing director. “As part of the program’s extensive network of more than 400 participating banks, Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public will be recognized globally and this will further strengthen our international transactions.”

“Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public’s participation in this program is a significant step in developing Lao’s financial sector by connecting Lao banks with their international counterparts,” said Simon Andrews, IFC’s regional manager for the Mekong region. “This will help facilitate trade between Lao companies and their overseas business partners.”

In fiscal 2012, IFC provided $2.9 billion to support trade in the world’s poorest countries, and 79 percent of all guarantees went to small and medium enterprises. The Global Trade Finance Program includes more than 250 partner banks in more than 90 emerging-market countries.

About IFC
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 www.ifc.org.

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About Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao Public (BCEL)
BCEL was established in 1975 at the same time when the Lao People’s Democratic Republic was declared. From 1976 to 1989, the BCEL operated as a specialized branch of the Bank of the Lao PDR (Central Bank) to conduct international banking business. In 1989, BCEL was transformed into a fully fledged commercial bank. With 18 branches, 37 service locations, 10 exchange offices and 163 ATM machines spread across the country, BCEL is the largest bank in Lao PDR with a market share in excess of 30%. For more information, visit www.bcel.com.la.



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