2004 was a year of significant accomplishments for the Bank. Net profit reached
US$141.7 million, establishing a new historical record for our Institution.
New York Stock Exchange closing bell ceremony,
October 11th, 2004
During 2004, Bladex celebrated 25 years of operations within Latin America. The Bank updated its corporate image and brand to reflect a more dynamic, innovative and competitive bank, with expertise and excellence within Latin American trade finance. The unveiling of our new brand took place in Panama on July 5, 2004, while the same launch was held the following 11th of October in the United States. To celebrate the occasion, for the first time in our history, the New York Stock Exchange honored us with “Bladex Day”, which culminated with the Bank ringing the “Closing Bell” to ceremoniously end trading activities for the day.
In 2005, as part of its ongoing corporate social responsibility program, the Bank sponsored a gallery at the Panama Canal Museum with works highlighting the contribution of Panamanian workers. The same year it was awarded the “Social Investment in Education” EDUCO Award granted by Panama’s Private Sector Council for Educational Assistance (COSPAE) for its work to build and equip the Marie Poussepin Educational Center, located in one of the poorest sectors of the country.
Also that year, Bladex signed an agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the promotion of trade flows in the Region through the IDB’s Trade Finance Program.
In 2006, a series of actions were undertaken aimed at expanding the Bank’s business in the Region. Corporate clients engaged in trade were acquired and the Bank’s revenues are now equally divided between banks and corporations. Using this same approach, the Treasury Division was transformed into a source of income, generating significant investment opportunities in Latin American bond issues. In that same year, the Bank opened a representative office in Miami, leveraging on the city’s logistical importance as the major U.S. export center to our Region, to attract business stemming from exports to Latin American and the Caribbean.
The establishment of these two new companies completes the Bank’s initiatives during this period:
Clavex: Provides specialized training and advisory services to the banking and financial sector in the Region.
Bladex Asset Management: Specializes in providing investment advisory services, achieving positive returns by managing risk through hedging and portfolio management techniques.
During 2007, among the important highlights of the Bank, the following stand out:
- Moody’s upgraded Bladex’s ratings to “Baa2”
- The Bank signed an agreement with the China Development Bank to promote trade and infrastructure investment opportunities, as well as business projects in the Region
- Bladex joined the Russell 3000 Index
- The Bank celebrated 15 years on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
- The first Latin American local currency bond issuance was launched with Peru, the first market of issuance.
In May 2008, Standard & Poor’s upgraded Bladex’s ratings from BBB- to BBB, followed in July by Fitch which also upgraded its ratings to BBB. In November, jointly with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Panama, the Bank awarded for the first time the Bladex Exporter Award in the categories of “Innovation” and “Excellence in Economic Journalism”.
During 2008, Bladex closed a two-year syndicated term loan facility. Initially launched at an amount of US$150 million, the facility closed at US$245 million with the participation of a group of thirteen financial institutions.