SAN JOSÉ, Costa Rica -- IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, in collaboration with the Institute of the Americas and the government of Costa Rica, is hosting government and private sector representatives from across Latin America and the Caribbean to promote secured lending and financing for hundreds of thousands of consumers and small business.
Access to finance is crucial to private sector growth, but many small enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean lack the necessary collateral to tap financing. IFC and its partners kicked off a two-day conference aimed at sharing expertise on the legal and institutional frameworks that govern secured transaction laws and collateral registries with a view to transforming the credit culture.
Experience shows these systems can have a dramatic impact on economic development by providing the legal structures that enable movable assets, such as inventory, crops or equipment, to guarantee loans. The conference convenes nearly 100 representatives from government agencies, central banks, multilateral development banks, and private sector companies.
Collateral provides the basis for free-flowing credit markets by reducing potential losses lenders face from non-payment. While land and buildings are often accepted as collateral for loans, the use of movable assets is restricted because many countries do not have functioning laws and registries to govern these transactions. IFC has worked with partners in more than 20 countries to help establish modern, web-based collateral registries to overcome these constraints and increase the availability of credit.
Across the region, impressive gains are being made. For example, Mexico has already implemented an electronic movable collateral registry; 97 percent of the registrations correspond to loans that have been granted to small and medium entrepreneurs. In August, Colombia enacted a new Secured Transactions Law and expects to have a functioning collateral registry by early 2014. Draft bills to establish modern secured lending systems have been presented in Costa Rica, El Salvador and Peru. Haiti, Guyana, and Jamaica, among others, have also begun secured lending reforms.
“This interactive knowledge-sharing forum helps maintain the momentum of promising efforts in Latin America and Caribbean,” said Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, IFC’s global product leader of secured transactions and collateral registries. “Showcasing best practices in secured lending through hands-on learning, including a site visit to the Public Registry of Costa Rica, allows participants to identify the steps needed for successful reforms.”
The conference is sponsored by the Commercial Finance Association, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, the United States Department of the Treasury, JPMorgan, and the Inter-American Development Bank.