Citi Increases its Microfinance Work Across the Region

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

While most banks across Asia seem to be focusing on the high-net-worth market in Asia, some are also concentrating on the promising mass market. Most view licences in China as an opportunity to capitalise on the China Dream; others see microfinance as a means to build long-standing relationships across the region.

According to the India Development Foundation, nearly 9 million Indian households that had access to microfinance moved above the $1.25 a day consumption threshold between 1990 and 2010, indicating that microfinance might be helping.

Last week, Citi announced two programmes designed to help promote financial inclusion in Asia and push people above the poverty line. One scheme involves new funding for the Banking With The Poor Network (BWTP), a pan-Asia microfinance network.

Citi Foundation, which targets its strategic giving to focus areas such as microfinance, enterprise development and asset building, said it was giving grants worth $200,000 to support BWTP members from 12 countries across the region. This is in addition to more than $2 million in support Citi Foundation has provided to BWTP thus far.

Citi Foundation also announced last week that it would make a $1 million commitment to partner with Habitat for Humanity in launching a three-year multi-country micro-savings and financial education initiative.

The programme will target communities living in substandard housing in the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam that are regularly exposed to natural disasters such as flooding and typhoons. By providing savings products, financial education and technical construction assistance, the aim is to help 3,000 low-income homeowners strengthen their homes against disasters.

Source: FinanceAsia (link opens in a new window)

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