Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization headquartered in the USA that provides financial products in 24 developing countries, recently announced the establishment of a regulated microfinance bank that will take over the credit offerings it provides to underserved people in Bogotá, Colombia, in addition to rendering savings services. This was made possible by a grant of an unspecified amount from Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services provider Citigroup which will be used to upgrade the organization’s technology infrastructure to meet banking regulatory requirements including reporting norms related to savings services. Enrique Ordonez, CEO of Opportunity Colombia, noted that, “We have provided loans and training to the Colombian people for more than 40 years. Thanks to the generous support of the Citi Foundation, our clients will also have a safe place to save their money, a critical tool for those working their way out of poverty.”
Opportunity Colombia aims to help women overcome extreme poverty and build stronger communities. By 2015, it hopes to have reached 37,000 savings customers and to have mobilized USD 40 million in deposits. “Opportunity Colombia’s bank will provide those outside the economic mainstream with greater access to financial resources they need to begin building a more stable future for themselves and their families,” said Pamela Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation.
By Chioma Okwudiafor, Research Associate
About Opportunity International
Based in the United States, Opportunity International is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1971. Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to approximately two million poor people in 24 countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. As of December 31, 2011, Opportunity International reported USD 207.8 million total assets and 2.8 million active loans.
About Citi Foundation
Citi Foundation provides grants and guarantees focusing on the areas of microfinance, small and growing businesses, enterprise development, youth education, asset building and neighborhood revitalization. As of 2010, Citi Foundation reported total assets of USD 63.1 million. Citi Foundation is the charitable arm of US-based financial services provider Citigroup.
Sources and Additional Resources:
Opportunity International Blog: “With a Grant from Citi Foundation, Opportunity Brings Financial Solutions to More Colombians”
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Opportunity International
MicroCapital Universe Profile: Citi Foundation
MicroCapital Story: November 9, 2012, MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Loans $453k to Opportunity Microcredit Romania
MicroCapital Story: September 12, 2012, MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Citi Foundation Grants $180k to Parinaam Foundation of India to Provide Financial Literacy Training to Clients of Microfinance Institution Ujjivan
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