IDB Invest partners with GBTI to boost trade finance programme

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GBTI’s acting CEO James Foster signing the agreement. Also in photo are (from left) Credit Risk Manager Mario Farinha; Business Development Manager Rawattie Mohandeo, and Chief Financial Officer Shawn Gurcharran

In an effort to diversify its network of correspondent banks to offer trade products to more small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and clients in Guyana, the Guyana Bank for Trade and Industry (GBTI) has now partnered with IDB Invest, through a virtual meeting and simple signing ceremony on Wednesday at GBTI’s Kingston headquarters in Georgetown.

IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, has incorporated GBTI into its Trade Finance Facilitation Program (TFFP) through a guarantee and funding facility. This partnership is expected to contribute to the attainment of two United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8) and Reduction of Inequalities (SDG 10).

This would be done while reinforcing the commitment of IDB Invest and GBTI to create a hub for investment and trade for the nation and the region, and while creating opportunities for the communities.

James Foster, GBTI’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), made note of the detrimental effects of the global pandemic by stating that, in addition to the human tragedy, the Latin American region suffered a historic economic contraction estimated to be more than 8% of GDP.

“…many lost their jobs, while others fell into poverty. GBTI, as the bank that sees Guyana through its eyes, held firm; we supported our communities and clients with reduced or eliminated fees; provided loan moratoriums and reduced interest rates”, the CEO expressed.

“Our employees who continue to support our communities and our clients despite the challenges of the pandemic were the key reason we have been able to withstand the damaging effects. Furloughs or reduced compensation was never a consideration for us.”

He went on to say, “With our nation at the doorstep of growth and change, GBTI is working diligently to be the strong bank, grounded in the framework of sustainable development required to support the opportunities that advance our communities and our Guyana of tomorrow.”

Additionally, the program is expected to expand support to existing industries and new and emerging businesses in sustaining productivity and job creation, which are beneficial, given the current macroeconomic situation with COVID-19.

GBTI, Guyana’s largest indigenous bank, is actively providing financing and other banking services to the country’s productive sectors.

Through this program with IDB Invest, GBTI would be able to increase its foreign trade products to its SME clients, adjusting its menu of products to the current context of client demands. It would also support GBTI’s activities to cater to the growing financial needs of the Private Sector, and support key business linkages in the growing demand for goods and services.