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IFC, Center-Invest Bank Expand Access to Finance for Small Businesses in Southern Russia

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a loan of 900 million Russian rubles (around $29 million) to Center-Invest Bank to help it expand access to finance for small and medium enterprises in the Russia Federation’s southern regions.

The loan will help the bank increase lending to smaller businesses in less-developed frontier regions, helping create jobs and diversifying the local economy. This new financing builds on the long-term partnership between IFC and Center-Invest Bank that began in 2002.

“We are grateful for IFC’s long-term financial support and valuable advice, which help us provide our clients with innovative products,” said Vasily Vysokov, Chairman of Center-Invest Bank. “We look forward to further successful cooperation with IFC, with which we share a commitment to the sustainable banking business model.”

Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group President, said, “Regional banks have a vital role to play in the development of Russia’s economy. Long-term partnerships with regional banks allow us to channel much-needed finance to local companies, contribute to the creation of jobs and the development of infrastructure, and to promote sustainable banking in Russia’s regions.”

Since 2002, IFC has provided Center-Invest Bank with over $40 million in debt finance. IFC has also provided the lender with a host of targeted advisory services that helped the bank launch several pioneering financial products focused on energy efficiency.

Established twenty years ago by southern Russia’s first privatised enterprises, Center-invest Bank has become known as a “reform laboratory” in the region. It is southern Russia’s leading bank, and the only bank in southern Russia to have a Ba3 rating from Moody’s. This rating was affirmed twice in 2012.