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Small-scale entrepreneurs and micro-business owners comprise a large element of productive society in Latin America and the Caribbean, accounting for over 75% of all businesses. However, due to their small size and informality, they frequently fall outside traditional banking activity.
As the health of micro-businesses is critical to economic and social development, there is a growing focus on extending microfinance as a means to improve financial access in under-served and underbanked communities.
Through recent acquisitions in Latin America, Scotiabank has acquired expertise in providing such financial services, in a prudent, profitable and sustainable way.
Scotiabank defines microfinance clients as self-employed or micro-business owners with annual gross revenues below CAD$150,000 who need financing to invest in the development and growth of their business.
Scotiabank provides innovative microfinance services to these small-scale entrepreneurs and micro-business owners through dedicated and specialized business units in Peru, Chile, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Jamaica, and we are pursuing an expansion of this business to Mexico, Colombia and potentially Haiti.
Overview of Scotiabank's microfinance services (2012)
"Our microfinance programs help households and micro-businesses with ideas, energy and taking the initiative to achieve economic independence and drive economic development. Micro-businesses are not just great for people who launch them, they are great for communities."
- Jeremy Pallant, Senior Vice President, Consumer and Microfinance, International Banking
- The CrediScotia subsidiary of Scotiabank Peru is a leading provider of banking services to the lower income socio-economic segment in Peru. With more than 15 years of experience, CrediScotia has developed a value proposition that resonates with lower-income borrowers.
- Soluciones, the subsidiary of Scotiabank Dominican Republic, focuses on the lower-income, socio-economic segment, and its 16,000 microfinance clients now account for 50% of its activity.
- BancoDesarrollo of Scotiabank in Chile also provides banking services for micro-business owners. In 2012, BancoDesarrollo launched a very successful award program for women micro-entrepreneur customers.
- CrediScotia Jamaica completed its first year of operations in 2012 and is Scotiabank's first foray into microfinance in the English Caribbean.
- Scotiabank's microfinance operations also provide free financial literacy programs to clients and non-clients to strengthen basic business and finance management competencies. Scotiabank will continue to expand the coverage of these programs in 2013.