CIFI’s originates from the Spanish bank Bankia, which presented the idea of its implementation to the Inter-American Investment Corporation as part of the BID Group.
Bankia and the Inter-American Investment Corporation created CIFI in 2001. Even at its formation, CIFI’s shareholder profiles were one of the most unique features of the organization, which today include 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 not covered by the financial sector. Local banks lacked the capacity to channel investment into such projects and international institutions did not consider Middle Markets profitable. CIFI was created to fill an obvious gap.
More recently, in 2016, CIFI took another step to more successfully meet its objectives by moving its headquarters to Panama City. By moving from Washington DC, which had once been a critical location for the company, CIFI is now even closer to its core business, in an enclave that is ideal to better facilitate regional projects and those they serve, by its proximity.