Since its foundation in 1979, Bladex’s main mission has been the promotion of foreign trade in Latin America. Capitalized by the countries in the Region and established in Panama, Bladex operates through the financial institutions of each of its shareholder countries, using them as channels to finance foreign trade. This simple yet crucial business model serves to provide a financing vehicle for hard currency generators – of particular importance during times of crisis, a time when our countries rely more on the export sector for their recovery.
While Bladex today is a private, modern, agile, and efficient financial institution with private capital and a talented professional staff, this clarity of vision is an integral part of our Bank. Based upon traditional values and aware of the fact that its creation represented a landmark effort of cooperation between 23 Latin American countries, Bladex is prepared to continue the tradition of innovation in an ever more sophisticated environment, with a clear focus on maintaining increasing and sustainable results over time.
On September 24, 1992, Bladex became the first Latin American bank to make an initial public offering of shares at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It was a successful issuance with an oversubscription of three to four million shares, given the strong interest raised among investors at the time. This important milestone was the result of the need to strengthen and diversify the Bank's capital base in order to continue the expansion of its business, making Bladex a more relevant financial institution for its clients in Latin America.
On the other hand, Bladex’s listing on the NYSE helped to strengthen Corporate Governance standards and develop a more efficient and competitive organization, with a very clear and targeted approach to achieving sustainable results, not only in terms of return on capital, but also in terms of supporting internationalization in Latin America and the resulting trade expansion.
Another important milestone in 1992 was the upgrade of Bladex’s risk rating, joining the select group of investment-grade institutions and making it the first Latin American bank to receive this recognition, as well as enabling it to increase and diversify its funding base at much more competitive prices.
Throughout these 39 years of operations, Bladex has consolidated its strategy of supporting Latin American regional integration and trade, providing top class financial solutions to a diversified client base in over 20 countries in the Region, maintaining world class Corporate Governance standards and attractive total returns for its shareholders.
Looking toward the next 25 years, Bladex’s goal is to become the reference bank for business related to Latin American internationalization and trade growth. This role is consistent with the Bank’s illustrious history, its relevance in Latin America and a political-economic context of greater integration at the regional and global level.