MUMBAI: International Finance Corporation(IFC) - the commercial lending arm of the World Bank is looking at hiking its exposure to Indian entities provided it gets more capital support.
Speaking to ET, Lars Thunell, executive vice president and chief executive of the IFC, said, “We are currently committed to invest $1billion annually and we may increase that if we get the $2.4 billion capital support that we have asked our shareholders.” India is one of the largest market for IFC investments and its current India exposure is around $3.4 billion.
IFC among other things plans to increase its lending support to the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) through the commercial banks in the country. “In other countries we share the risks with the banks on lending to SMEs. We would love to do that in India too provided the regulations allow.” Mr. Thunell also met up with the Reserve Bank of India governor D Subbarao, among others. In the financial sector, IFC has already provided tier-II capital support to ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank , said a senior IFC official.
The institution has commercial interest in a variety of sectors that are crucial to development and inclusive growth including infrastructure, energy as well as microfinance.
IFC has also signed an agreement with Bangalore-headquartered Belstar Investment and Finance, a microfinance arm of Bangalore-based non-government organisation to provide equity help to establish a sustainable microfinance operation for the poor in rural and semi-urban areas. Besides, it also plans to focus in states which has less micro-finance penetration including some states in the Northeast, Mr. Thunell indicated.
Mr. Thunell also signed an agreement with Kerala state government to provide advisory services to develop a greenfield port. The proposed port, to be located at Vizhinjam near the state's capital of Thiruvananthapuram, is expected to become a national hub for container traffic.