Provides Lending to 1.5 Million Poor Annually

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

BOSTON, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ — ACCION International today announced that the active loan portfolio managed by its microfinance partners rose above $1 billion in 2005, for the first time in ACCION’s history.? In just over three years, ACCION has more than doubled its active loan portfolio and doubled the number of poor entrepreneurs served each year.

“ACCION has made significant strides in addressing world poverty,” reflected Maria Otero, ACCION International president and CEO.? “In the last five years, we’ve seen the number of clients served by our partners in the developing world grow to 1.46 million per year.? By comparison, it took 20 years to reach 450,000 clients per year.? The growth of the portfolio, and our expansion into India and new countries in Africa, has allowed us to significantly broaden our scope and extend our mission — building strong, sustainable microfinance institutions around the world.”

“But there will always be more to do,” Otero continued.? “Our objective by
the end of 2008 is to more than double again the number of clients served by our partner network, or to reach three million active clients annually.? At
that growth rate, our active loan portfolio is also expected to double, to $2
billion, in that time.”

ACCION’s strategic plan over the next three years calls for continued work with commercial banks and other financial institutions to help scale
microfinance solutions to reach millions more poor in new regions; create new innovations and technologies that make microfinance even more cost-effective; and continue to provide a leadership role for the industry.

A unique solution to poverty, microfinance enables the entrepreneurial
spirit and will to succeed that exists in all people, regardless of their
financial means.? With the interest paid on each loan helping to fund other
clients’ future loans, it provides a self-sustaining and scaleable means of
making financial services available to the world’s poor.

About ACCION International
ACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need — microenterprise loans, business training, and other financial services — to work their way out of poverty.? A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION issued the first microloan in 1973 in Brazil.? ACCION’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor women and men entrepreneurs in 22 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, India and sub-Saharan Africa, and in the U.S. through the U.S. ACCION Network.? In the last decade alone, ACCION and its partners have disbursed over $7.6 billion in loans to nearly 4.1 million borrowers, 65 percent of whom are women.? Nearly 97 percent of these loans have been repaid.? For the past three years, ACCION has been among the organizations awarded the Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company magazine for “using business excellence to engineer social change.”? For more information, visit

Source: Press Release (link opens in a new window)