Financial Institutions

The banking sector and debt capital markets can play an important role in bridging the developing world’s massive financing gaps by mobilizing savings to key sectors, like housing, climate, and infrastructure. Yet most developing countries lack the necessary preconditions for a healthy capital market: stable macroeconomic fundamentals, a sound banking system, a good institutional and regulatory framework, an efficient market infrastructure, and sufficient market size.

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IFC works through financial institutions to provide much-needed access to finance for millions of individuals and micro, small, and medium enterprises that we would never be able to reach directly. The Financial Institutions Group (FIG) supports the World Bank Group goal of achieving universal access to finance, an important part of the World Bank Group strategy to end extreme poverty and build shared prosperity. Working with local financial intermediaries allows IFC to support far more micro, small, and medium enterprises than we would on our own.

The impact of IFC financial clients in 2021

  • $516.9 B in loans to SMEs
  • $107.9 B in microfinance loans
  • $35.6 B in loans to women-owned enterprises
  • $226 B in trade finance transactions

At a Glance

IFC works with about 800 financial institutions with products including investment and advisory support for microfinance, insurance, loans to small and medium enterprises and women-owned businesses, and low- and medium-income mortgages.

Our work in more than 100 countries has helped strengthen financial institutions and systems, reinforcing responsible finance, enabling them to play a constructive role in economic growth, and introducing environmental and social standards in many clients for the first time.

In FY22, our new long-term commitments in financial institutions totaled about $9.6 billion, including $3.4 billion mobilized from other investors.

Areas of Focus

Working with local financial intermediaries allows IFC to support far more micro, small, and medium enterprises than we would on our own. We work with financial intermediaries to support:

Banking on Women

IFC provides financing and expertise to financial institutions to help them attract women-owned SMEs and retail customers—and profitably finance them.

Capital Markets

IFC engages in the Capital Markets by offering three primary products: securitization of future capital flows, the development of capital release products, and diversified payment mechanisms.

Climate Finance

IFC’s Financial Institutions Group partners with banks and over 200 financial institutions with climate finance portfolios of approximately $26 billion to fund the urgent need for at least $23 trillion in climate-smart investments. 

Digital Finance

IFC aims to increase the reach and breadth of financial services to people and businesses who currently have little or no access to such services. Technology is helping by bringing down costs and creating new opportunities to reach un- and underserved market segments, such as micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises, and smallholder farmers.

Global Trade

Trade is the lifeline of the global economy, and IFC works to ensure that businesses in emerging markets can be included, bringing in essential imports and exporting to boost economic growth.

Housing Finance

IFC is dedicated to advancing sustainable and affordable housing while expanding access to mortgages and finance for underserved populations, especially women and low-income individuals.

MSME Finance

Micro, small, and medium enterprises play a major role in creating jobs and boosting prosperity for low income people—fostering economic growth, social stability, and the development of a dynamic private sector. Having adequate access to finance is fundamental for these companies to flourish.


Insights & Reports

Stories of Impact