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

  • 46%

    of women aged 15 years or older were part of the labor force as of 2012, the ILO found.
  • 44%

    of firms had female participation in ownership in 2010, according to the IFC.
  • 19%

    of investments in women-owned SMEs in Costa Rica came from a bank in 2010, the World Bank found.
  • 11%

    of women borrowed from a financial institution in 2014, according to Findex.