IDB Invest loan for Republic Bank Trinidad and Tobago to help small businesses
The Honourable Camille Robinson-Regis, Minister of Planning and Development is announcing for public information that the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has signed an unsecured subordinated loan to Republic Bank Limited, Trinidad and Tobago in the sum of US$75 million, with a tenor of up to seven years. This signing took place on Thursday May 9th, 2019 at the IDB’s headquarters in Washington DC, USA. Minister Robinson-Regis is also a Governor on the IDB’s Board of Governors.
The objective of the loan agreement is to grant financing to Republic Bank Limited to support its capital structure to finance its digital integration process, increase the size of its retail portfolio by providing loans to local Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and medium income mortgages. Complementary advisory services will be provided through Technical Assistance to help Republic develop an Environmental and Social Management System, as IDB Invest identified a need to improve the Republic Bank’s capacity to identify and manage the Environmental &Social risks associated with its lending activities.
This is the largest operation in the Caribbean in recent years and the largest for Trinidad and Tobago. It opens up multiple opportunities for ongoing partnership with IDB Invest and Republic Bank Ltd. This operation re-establishes a business relationship between IDB Invest and one of the long standing and leading financial entities in the country that has a strong domestic and regional presence.
Minister Robinson-Regis lauds this historic signing as a great contribution to economic development. In terms of its impact, Trinidad and Tobago is considered the regional financial center for the English-speaking Caribbean, with a well-capitalized and financially healthy banking sector, however ‘access to credit’ for businesses and investors is ranked among the top three challenges, and viewed as one of the main obstacles to SME growth. The Small and Medium Business sector, which represents approximately 30% of the GDP, stands to benefit from much needed access to finance and increased support of local commercial banking, wherein historically large commercial banks tended to overlook the needs of the sector not recognizing the returns and the multiplier effects of these businesses.
The Ministry of Planning and Development is the focal point of the Bank’s activities in Trinidad and Tobago and promoting private sector development is one of the 3 strategic areas of focus of the IDB’s current Trinidad and Tobago Country Strategy for fostering greater economic diversification. This is also closely related to Trinidad and Tobago’s National Development Strategy, Vision 2030, which focuses on Building Globally Competitive Businesses as one its main pillars.