The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is planning to invest USD 47 million in Brookfield Incorporacoes, a Brazilian real estate development company, in order to “increase the availability of high-quality housing for low-income people in Brazil” . The investment consists of USD 17 million in equity and USD 30 million for a long-term revolving line of credit. Continue reading
BlueOrchard Finance, a Swiss asset management company, recently invested USD 6.5 million from its Dexia MicroCredit Fund (DMCF) in three Latin American microfinance institutions (MFIs): Forjadores of Mexico, Women’s World Banking (WWB) Popayan of Colombia and D-Miro of Ecuador. Continue reading
The MicroCred Group, an investment company with operations in France, Madagascar and China, has completed the sale of its Mexican operations to Fig Tree Ventures, including assets of EUR 4.1 million (equivalent to USD 5 million). Continue reading
The financial regulator of Colombia, Superintendencia Financiera de Colombia, has reported that six local and foreign firms are applying to offer banking services in the country, including an unspecified number that would offer microfinance. Continue reading
The US-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the US Agency for International Development (AID) have announced a USD 15 million fund to encourage companies to initiate mobile financial services in Haiti. Continue reading
Jaime Garcia Echecopar, a general director for IBM, a multinational computer, technology and IT consulting corporation, announced the launch of a new microfinance project in Peru. IBM plans to invest USD 20 million over the next five years to develop its first processing center for microfinance institutions. The center will be able to manage the information relating to 2 million loans and deposits of various microfinance institutions (MFIs). These institutions will be able to use the internet to access their customer’s information and thus will not have to face extensive new investments in IT systems. Continue reading
Global Partnerships, a US-based microfinance investment firm, held a forum on June 8 in Bellevue, Washington, that covered the organization’s efforts to reduce poverty in Latin America while offering investors a fixed rate of return. Continue reading
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group working to alleviate poverty through loan and debt securities, equity investments and guarantees, will invest USD 10 million in Bancamia, a microfinance bank in Colombia . The goal of the investment is to support the expansion of the Colombian microfinance sector, thereby helping to increase access to financial services for microenterpreneurs in the country. Continue reading
While the Brazilian microfinance market has seen significant growth since President Inacio Lula da Silva took power in 2002, a recent article estimates the market has reached two percent penetration . Since his election, the number of microborrowers in Brazil has increased from 159,000 to 809,000 with a total of BRL 775.5 million (USD 426 million) in outstanding loans. Growth is expected to continue with increased interest in this market from established banking institutions such as Banco Santander, Unibanco and Banco Real. Continue reading
MicroCapital: What is your personal motivation for investing in microfinance?
Rick Beckett: I spent the first 20 years of my career in the private sector. My motivation is really rooted in a couple things: one is I want to live in a world where everybody is treated like they matter, and for me that’s a lot about people having the opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families. We don’t live in that kind of a world. I do the work I do at Global Partnerships and Direct Relief and elsewhere because I’m interested in how we can use market solutions to advance the common good. I’m intrigued by the opportunity to change investment markets to incorporate more social motivations. I’m intrigued by the evolution of enterprises and products to incorporate more of the common good, both in terms of global poverty and global health issues as well as environmental issues. So it’s a combination of wanting to see a different world and intrigue in how the market mechanisms are evolving to advance that. So it’s a pretty interesting place to be in right now.
MC: You have said previously that “All microfinance is not created equal.” How you make such distinctions?
Lockheed Martin, a global security company based in the US state of Maryland, has given a USD 30,000 grant to support the microfinance efforts of the Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) . Established in 1984, FINCA is a global microfinance network, which serves approximately 700,000 people through its subsidiaries in 21 countries . The funding from Lockheed Martin will help provide loan capital for FINCA’s clients in Afghanistan and El Salvador and will support FINCA Haiti’s relief fund efforts following the January 12th earthquake. Continue reading
The responsAbility Mikrofinanz-Fonds, a microfinance investment vehicle (MIV) founded in 2007, recently reported to MicroCapital that it has executed debt investments totaling USD 3.2 million in four microfinance banks. The largest amount, USD 1.5 million, went to Inecobank, an Armenian bank founded in 1996 with a gross loan portfolio of USD 91.7 million . The MIV reports total assets of USD 108.5 million as of 2009, and is one of four funds operated by responsAbility, the others being responsAbility Base of the Pyramid, responsAbility Global Microfinance Fund and responsAbility Microfinance Leaders Fund. Continue reading
The responsAbility Global Microfinance Fund, headquartered in Switzerland and founded in 2003, has executed debt investments totaling the equivalent of USD 2.76 million to three microfinance banks, according to a report submitted by responsAbility to MicroCapital. The microfinance investment vehicle (MIV) reports total assets of USD 358 million as of 2009 and is one of four funds operated by responsAbility, the others being responsAbility Base of the Pyramid, responsAbility Mikrofinanz-Fonds and responsAbility Microfinance Leaders Fund. Continue reading
IGNIA Fund I, a social venture capital fund that aims to support the low-income population in Mexico and other regions of Latin America, recently invested USD 4 million in Finestrella, a Mexican company that offers postpaid mobile plans to consumers without the necessity of a credit history or upfront deposit. Continue reading
In a recent interview on the Microfinance Focus website, Dr John Hatch, founder of FINCA International, a global microfinance network serving 700,000 people, discusses the successes of microfinance and FINCA’s experiences in disaster and conflict zones. Continue reading
Ecuador’s central bank, Banco Central del Ecuador (BCE), recently further reduced the cap on annual interest rates to 30.5 percent from 33.9 percent for retail microlenders, and to 27.5 percent from 33.3 percent for all others lenders . Since 2007, when the national government enacted banking reforms allowing the central bank to set a maximum interest rate for all banking institutions, the cap for microlenders has been dropping. According to Javier Vaca, the executive director of Red Financiera Rural (RFR), an Ecuadorian network of organizations that is focused on facilitating and promoting access to financial services, this forces microlenders to increase the average amount of their loans. Some are left with no choice but to sell their portfolios to larger institutions with lower fixed costs . Continue reading
The nonprofit Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) recently released the 2009 benchmarking report on the microfinance sector in Brazil, available in Spanish. Continue reading
Pro Mujer, an international microfinance organization serving 202,000 clients in Latin America, recently released the first issue of a publication that will evaluate field research on new microfinance services. Continue reading