Baar-Zug, Switzerland, September 18, 2023
Blue Earth Capital AG (“BlueEarth”), a global specialist impact investor, has committed USD $ 15 million through its investment vehicles to Avista S.A.S BIC (“Avista”, or the “Company”), one of the leading payroll lending companies in Colombia. The credit facility will support the Company’s portfolio growth to continue to cater to an unattended Colombian market.
The Avista transaction was structured as a USD $ 30 million private securitization in partnership with The Rohatyn Group (“TRG”), a specialist emerging markets investor. With BlueEarth’s USD $ 15 million investment Avista will provide lending services support to an estimated additional 6,000 people, the majority of whom are underserved elderly Colombians.
Financial inclusion is lower in Colombia than in its peer countries. The lack of access to financial services is particularly prevalent among low-income and older populations. According to 2021 World Bank data, of the poorest 40% of Colombians, only 9% have borrowed from a formal financial institution (compared to 18% for the total population). As people age, the risk of financial hardship and poverty often increases due to insufficient savings, decreasing income, and increasing expenditures for medicine, long-term care, adapted housing, etc. Without the ability to save or obtain credit facilities, unbanked individuals are especially vulnerable to these issues.
Avista addresses these problems by providing financial services to pensioners (99% of the Company’s portfolio) from the two lowest income strata in Colombia (c. 82% of the portfolio). 78% of Avista’s customers earn less than 1.5x the local minimum wage of USD $ 278 per month. Access to financial services helps customers save and thus better face potential financial hardship, often improving their quality of life. Since 2019, Avista has disbursed more than USD $ 350 million in payroll loans across all Colombian states, positioning itself as a key player providing financial inclusion for the so-called “Silver Economy.”
Amy Wang, Head of Private Credit at BlueEarth, comments: “Financial inclusion is an important part of building a more equitable world, and Colombia’s unattended market deserves continued efforts from financial institutions like Avista. Their mission aligns well with BlueEarth’s, and we are pleased to support the Company in its continuous growth catering to an underserved population in Colombia “.
Martin Restrepo, Co-Founder and CEO of Avista, states: “Avista continues to strengthen the confidence of the international investor community, with experienced and committed partners like TRG and BlueEarth. We are incredibly excited about this partnership and the potential it holds for driving positive change on the Colombian Silver Economy’s financial inclusion needs. By combining Avista’s deep expertise in digital payroll lending for pensioners with the robust capabilities of BlueEarth in social impact investment, we aim to continue democratizing credit for the elderly population because we believe a more inclusive financial system will create more opportunities and prosperity for our customers.’’
Avista was founded in 2019, focusing on payroll lending to under-banked pensioners in Colombia. In only 4 years Avista has become the leading fintech in its field, disrupting the market with its customer-centric and technology- driven business model. Avista is significantly more digitalized than its peers (90% of origination is 100% digital and paperless). As of June-23 the company had originated 101k loans with COP 969bn in loan portfolio under management. Additionally, the company is also a B Corp, proving its commitment to make products that cater towards their client’s needs, and is a signatory of the PRI and UN Global Compact seeking to uphold best in class ESG practices. For more information, visit www.avista.co
About Blue Earth Capital
Blue Earth Capital is a global, independent, specialist impact investor, headquartered in Switzerland, with operations in New York, London, and Konstanz. Blue Earth Capital seeks to address the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges by delivering measurable impact alongside aiming for attractive and sustainable financial returns. The company operates dedicated private equity, private credit and fund solutions. Blue Earth Capital is owned by the Blue Earth Foundation, a Stiftung (charity/trust) registered in Switzerland that focuses on deep impact to support initiatives and business ventures to help deliver a more equitable and sustainable future.
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 OECD (2021).