CIFI’s origin is in the Spanish bank Bankia, which presented the idea to the Inter-American Investment Corporation as part of the BID Group, for its implementation.
Bankia and the Inter-American Investment Corporation created CIFI in 2001. The profile of its shareholders was already back then one of the most unique features of the entity, which today has private entities (Caixa Banco Investimento, Banistmo, Banco Pichincha e Itau-Unibanco); multilateral institutions (the International Finance Corporation, Central American Bank for Economic Integration and Caribbean Development Bank); and investment funds (Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries and Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation).
Until 2001, there were no entities specializing in financing small and medium infrastructures in the Latin American and Caribbean Region, a need that was not covered by the financial sector. Local banks did not have the capacity to channel investment into such projects and international institutions did not consider Middle Markets profitable. CIFI came to fill an obvious gap.
The last step taken by the entity to cover more successfully its objectives came in 2016 when it moved its headquarters to Panama City. Without leaving Washington DC, which had been so important for the company, CIFI came even closer to the core of its business, an enclave that was ideal to boost such projects due to its location, characteristics and connections to the Region.