Microfinance Focus, July 9, 2010: Bank of Georgia is joined by World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) in supporting the growth strategy of Belarusky Narodny Bank for the development of the banking sector and expanding access to finance for small and medium companies in Belarus. IFC will buy 19.9 percent of equity and provide a $5 million loan to Belarusky Narodny Bank, a midsize Belarusian bank with strong focus on small and medium enterprise finance. This financing will complement a recent investment in the bank by IFC's long-term partner, Bank of Georgia.
Craig Bell, IFC Country Representative for Belarus, said, "We are very pleased to support this cross-country investment. Belarusky Narodny Bank is IFC's first client bank in Belarus to be the recipient of equity investment, debt, and trade finance - all financial instruments to support the growth and development of the bank in the Belarusian market."
Nikoloz Shurgaia, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Belarusky Narodny Bank, said, "We welcome IFC as our new shareholder. Its high reputation and experience in developing financial institutions globally will give Belarusky Narodny Bank additional impetus to develop into a leading bank in terms of transparency, reliability, and client orientation, and provide high-quality services to small and medium enterprises and people of Belarus."
Belarus joined IFC in 1992. IFC has been actively involved in advisory services in the country since 1993, starting with the privatization of small businesses. IFC currently focuses its efforts on business environment and investment climate improvement. From 2004 through June 2010, IFC has committed about $260 million in loans and invested in a number of projects in Belarus.
Belarusky Narodny Bank is a commercial bank offering a broad range of financial services in Belarus. Small and medium enterprises and affluent individuals are the bank's main target customer groups. As of February 2010, the bank served its customers through four branches-three in Minsk and one in Vitebsk. The bank's authorized capital is 69.2 billion Belarusian rubles. Bank of Georgia controls 79.99 percent of Belarusky Narodny Bank shares; IFC controls 19.99 percent of shares.