GCPF teams up with Global Bank, Panama
Panama-based Global Bank Corporation joins the ranks of the Global Climate Partnership Fund’s international network of partner financial institutions. The universal bank with a USD 5 bn diversified loan portfolio has received a USD 30 m long-term credit facility for green lending activities and plans to position itself as a market leader in this new and high-potential area in the Panamanian market.
Founded in 1994, Global Bank started out as a purely corporate bank and has since expanded into SME, microenterprise and retail banking and has become the third largest bank by assets in the country´s national banking system. In the area of climate finance, the bank has been funding renewable energy projects, mainly larger-scale hydropower plants, for nearly twenty years.
In cooperation with GCPF, the bank now plans to develop a niche in green lending focused on corporate green building while complementing this with other areas including small- to medium-scale renewable energy projects and energy efficiency investments particularly in the agriculture and industrial sectors.
While there have been some pilots and publicly financed experiential green lending, there is still little experience with dedicated green financing facilities and local banks developing a green loan portfolio. This puts Global Bank at the forefront of climate finance in Panama.
Starting from January 2018 and employing GCPF’s Technical Assistance facility, Global Bank has been working with local energy consultant and integrator AQT Enterprises to obtain technical energy expertise for project identification, appraisal and eligibility verification. The consultant furthermore supports the bank in systematically offering and explaining the benefits of green loans to clients, thereby facilitating the creation of a green loan portfolio.
The flagship investment under the GCPF facility is the bank´s new LEED-certified head office building, Global Bank Santa Maria. This is the first green building that the fund is financing in Latin America.
Jorge Vallarino Jr., Executive Vice President, Global Bank, commented: ´We view this partnership as a way to differentiate ourselves in the competitive local market. We began in-house by greening our own office buildings. These serve as demonstration projects for bank personal, clients and the public and we are motivated to use this experience to develop a green lending product for our clients. ´
Speaking on behalf of GCPF, Claudia Arce, Chairperson of the Board, said: ‘We are proud to have Global Bank, a major player in the Panamanian market, as one or our newest partner banks. The bank ´s successful track record and experience make it an exciting opportunity for the fund to support the institution on this new path to develop a green loan portfolio.´