Visitors to the Dominican Republic might not know it, but they have one thing in common whether they are staying at a resort, visiting the capital, or checking out a free-trade zone for potential investment.  

The common denominator is Banreservas, the country’s largest bank and a key player when it comes to infrastructure financing across an array of sectors.

The bank, through its investment banking division, structured deals totaling more than $720 million in 2022, with major financings in the areas of renewable energy and transportation as well as hospitality and real estate.

“We have projects in Santo Domingo (the capital) and many provinces,” says Cristal Lizardo, international business manager at Banreservas. “We are working so the country continues to grow.”

Banreservas, which wins the award for Infrastructure Bank of the Year – Caribbean, is supporting to several big projects that will dramatically expand connectivity across the country in support of the tourism and hospitality sectors.

The bank put up $30 million, nearly half the cost, for the new Dorado Park in Cap Cana, on the eastern tip of the country, and approved $59 million for a new hotel complex in Miches, in the northeast.

It is also involved in one of the most ambitious projects in years, creating an entirely new tourism zone in Cabo Rojo, in the south of the country near the border with Haiti. Banreservas approved $37 million, out of a total investment of $73 million, for a new cruise ship port. The government has also approved a plan to convert the existing airport into an international airport.

The state’s Cabo Rojo Tourism Development Plan also includes renewable energy plants, sanitation and road infrastructure and, of course, hotels. Hyatt and Iberostar have already signed up. The government expects $240 million in hotel investment.

Banreservas is working with Hyatt on a new hotel and residential complex in Santo Domingo, approving $20 million in financing.

Lizardo says one of the bank’s more ambitious projects was structuring the financing for a $28-million loan the Santo Domingo’s World Trade Center that will include offices and 240 apartments, and will incorporate the existing Blue Mall, one of the country’s largest shopping malls.

She says that that bank designed a debt structure that met the project’s financing requirements, with pricing aligned with the 90-day LIBOR rate, incorporating a margin based on quarterly interest payments. She says the different projects have consolidated the bank’s role and ensured a pipeline of new financing for the years to come.

“All of this translates into new achievements for the bank in terms of assets and loans. The different projects have allowed the bank to grow in spite of the pandemic and economic slowdown it caused,” she says.