Banco Nacional de Costa Rica

Banco Nacional de Costa Rica (BNCR) is the largest bank in Central America, serving more than 1.9 million customers.

About BNCR

Founded in 1914, Banco Nacional de Costa Rica was established by the Costa Rican government as a development-focused financial institution, with the overarching goal of economic, social and financial progress for the country and its citizens. The largest in Central America, the bank employs about 5,000 people and has a network of over 170 branches and more than 400 ATMs nationwide. Serving more than 1.9 million customers, BNCR targets a variety of segments, including micro, small, medium and corporate.

The Program

BNCR’s Banca Mujer program focuses on woman-owned small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Spun off in 2010 from Banca de Desarrollo, which focuses on the SME market generally, Banca Mujer took off immediately, growing BNCR’s portfolio of loans made to woman-owned SMEs by 48 percent in just two years. Along with credit products to capitalize woman-owned SMEs, Banca Mujer delivers business development services and financial education to women through a strategic alliance with a leading public university. BNCR plans to expand Banca Mujer beyond SME lending to encompass the full range of women customer segments, including students, stay-at-home women, high-net-worth women and businesswomen.

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BNCR serves approximately
900,000 women customers,
representing 48 percent
of its customer base.

Women represent 34
percent of its total
credit portfolio and
more than 45 percent
of its deposits.

23 percent of senior
management is
comprised of women.

44 percent of BNCR’s
staff is made up of women.


The Opportunity - Costa Rica

  • 45%

    of women participated in the labor force in 2017, the World Bank reported.
  • 61%

    of Costa Rican women had an account with a formal financial institution in 2017, Findex found.
  • 19%

    of women in Costa Rica saved at a financial institution in 2017, yet half of all women saved money somewhere, Findex found.
  • 13%

    of Costa Rican women borrowed from a formal financial institution in 2017, with 31% in total saying they took out a loan that year, according to Findex.