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IDB Invest and Banistmo, a subsidiary of the Bancolombia Group, announce first gender bond in Latin America

  • Revenue from the new gender bond will be used to increase access to financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) led by women.
  • Launched by Banistmo, IDB Invest structures and buys 100 percent of the bond issuance.


IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, and Banistmo, a subsidiary of the Bancolombia Group, announce the issuance of the first social gender bond in Latin America, totaling $50 million with a five-year term. Banistmo issues the bond and IDB Invest structures it and buys 100 percent of it.

The issuance makes Panama the first country in Latin America with a social bond with a gender focus, aimed exclusively at expanding access to financing for women-led SMEs. The resources will promote entrepreneurship and women's economic empowerment in that country.

In addition, the bond has a second party opinion from Vigeo Eiris, a company specializing in evaluating this type of project. Vigeo Eiris accredits compliance with the international social bond standards established in The Social Bond Principles of the International Capital Market Association (ICMA).

The income from the issuance of the bond will be used to support women-led SMEs, increasing their productive investments and economic development. Since 2016, Banistmo has included female entrepreneurship and the economic empowerment of women as part of its strategy. In 2018, it launched the Impulsa platform, which offers financial and non-financial value for women through which it has trained more than a thousand women in personal and business finance, brand, personal development and leadership.

IDB Invest and IDB Lab, the innovation laboratory of the IDB Group, created in 2012 the women entrepreneurship Banking (weB) program, in which Banistmo Impulsa participates. The initiative, which combines advice and investment, helps financial intermediaries develop and adapt their products and services for the women's market. WeB has worked with 20 banks in 12 countries, approved more than $800 million in loans and $5 million in technical assistance.

This bond can potentially contribute to four United Nations Organization Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Gender equality (SDG 5), Decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), Industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9) and Reduced inequalities (SDG 10).

About IDB Invest
IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) Group, is a multilateral development bank committed to the economic development of its member countries in Latin America and the Caribbean through the private sector. IDB Invest finances sustainable companies and projects so they can achieve financial results and maximize the region’s economic, social, and environmental development. With a portfolio of $12.4 billion in assets under administration and 342 clients in 24 countries, IDB Invest provides innovative financial solutions and advisory services in response to its clients’ needs in a variety of sectors.

About Grupo Bancolombia y Banistmo
Banistmo has the support of the Bancolombia Group, a financial institution present in Colombia and Central America offering financial products and services to more than 14 million active clients, and providing commercial and consumer banking, stock brokerage, investment banking, financial leasing, factoring, fiduciary services, asset management and private banking, among others.

Banistmo is the second most important financial institution in Panama by volume of deposits and loans, has a workforce of 2,200 employees, 65 percent of which are women. It is a member of the National Council for Entrepreneurship led by the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (AMPYME). In addition, it is a member of the Council for Gender Parity, the Seal of Gender Equality, Women’s Empowerment Principles (UN Women) and the Emprende Igualdad Network.