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IFC issues bonds for housing finances for Costa Rica's low and middle income families

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, issued a triple-A rated bond in Costa Rica’s domestic market, raising 5.7 billion colones, or approximately USD$10 million.


IFC 07 Aug 2018, 12:49 PM Costa Rica
  • IFC has a USD$372 million portfolio in Costa Rica in sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy, and financial markets. (Image Credit: Wikimedia)

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, issued a triple-A rated bond in Costa Rica’s domestic market, raising 5.7 billion colones, or approximately USD$10 million. The bond’s proceeds will be used to boost housing finance for low and middle-income families who otherwise lack access to mortgage loans. 

The Irazu II bond marks IFC’s second issuance in local currency in Costa Rica. It has a five-year maturity and a net yield of 8.44 percent per annum. 

IFC will invest the proceeds of the Irazu II bond in Coopenae, a leading savings and credit cooperative with over 110,000 members. The proceeds of the bond complement an IFC USD$10 million loan provided to Coopenae in April 2018 to finance affordable housing. 

“Buying a house or apartment is a dream for many families,” said Adrian Alvarez, Coopenae CEO. “By partnering with IFC, we will be able to provide more of our member families with responsible financial solutions to become first-time homeowners.” 

The Costa Rican government estimates an annual gap of USD$4.4 billion to meet demands in housing finance. The mortgage market has substantial room for expansion. Currently, it represents only 16 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, below countries with similar income levels such as Panama (22 percent) and Chile (24 percent). 

“Developing local capital markets is critical to providing long-term, local-currency finance for the private sector,” said Luc Grillet, IFC Senior Manager for Central America and the Caribbean. “This is key to creating jobs and opportunities in emerging markets like Costa Rica.” 

Finanzas Corporativas de Centroamérica (FCCA), an investment bank, was the lead arranger for the bond issuance. 

“Local institutional investors have appetite for local currency bonds and showed interest in backing IFC's development goals in Costa Rica,” said Roberto Venegas, FCCA President and CEO. “We recognize the importance of developing the domestic capital markets and acknowledge the role IFC is taking in this regard.” 

BN Vital OPC, a pension operator, invested in the bond. 

“We were interested in the triple-A rating of the bond as well as the destination of the proceeds,” said Hermes Alvarado, BN Vital OPC CEO. 

IFC supports capital markets by issuing local currency bonds, providing investment alternatives for institutional investor and private sector companies. In Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to Costa Rica, IFC has issued domestic local currency bonds in Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Peru. 

IFC has a USD$372 million portfolio in Costa Rica in sectors such as infrastructure, renewable energy, and financial markets. Through its advisory programs, IFC works with the government and companies to help establish the conditions that will attract the most private capital, enabling the private sector to grow and create jobs. 


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