MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bridge Launches with $24m from Accion, Bamboo Finance, DEG, FMO, Paul Kocourek to Support Rural, Thrift Banks in the Philippines

Bridge, a financial services company that plans to provide “capability building services and capital” to rural and thrift banks that focus on low-income populations and micro- and small businesses in the Philippines, recently announced its launch with equity investments totaling USD 24 million from Accion, a US-based nonprofit organization; Bamboo Finance, a Luxembourg-based commercial investment firm; Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft GmbH (DEG), a German development finance institution; the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappijvoor Ontwikkelingslanden NV (FMO), a Dutch public-private development bank; and Mr Paul Kocourek, Bridge’s co-founder and chairman. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MasterCard Foundation Donates $4.3m to Smart Campaign for Microfinance Client Protection Effort

The MasterCard Foundation, a Canada-based institution that was founded by US-based financial services firm MasterCard Worldwide, has announced that it will donate USD 4.3 million to The Smart Campaign, a US-based consumer protection initiative targeting microfinance clients worldwide.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Uganda’s Insurance Regulator, Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A), Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii) Seek to Expand Access to Microinsurance, Perhaps Mobile Money

The Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA), Uganda’s insurance industry regulator, reportedly is partnering with Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A), a multilateral platform that aims to coordinate financial sector activities among African governments, and the Access to Insurance Initiative (A2ii), a global program hosted by Germany’s international cooperation agency (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), to create regulation that make access to microinsurance more efficient, mainly for low-income earners. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Nigeria Agrees to Extend Deadline for Smaller Microfinance Banks to Raise Capital Until December 2013

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has agreed to extend the deadline by one year for microfinance banks (MFBs) to recapitalize as needed to avoid closing branches to comply with CBN’s regulatory framework that was revised in 2011 to limit the number and locations of branches MFBs can operate based on their level of capital. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Tamkeen, Family Bank of Bahrain to Double Portfolio of Microfinance Support Scheme to $5.2m

Tamkeen, an agency supporting the private sector that is backed by the government of Bahrain, and Family Bank, a nonprofit Bahraini microfinance bank, recently signed an agreement whereby Tamkeen will fund an increase of BHD 1 million (USD 2.6 million) in the portfolio of the Microfinance Support Scheme, a joint program of the two organizations that offers financing services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Itau Unibanco of Brazil Commits $167m to Microloans for Urban Entrepreneurs in Concert with Business Call to Action, UN Millennium Development Goals

Brazilian bank Itau Unibanco recently joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA), a multi-organization initiative that seeks to reduce poverty through the private sector in support of the United Nations Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Centenary Bank, Opportunity Uganda, PostBank Partner With Uptime Solutions to Rollout Mobile Banking Vans to Rural Areas

Several financial institutions in Uganda including Centenary Bank, a Uganda-based commercial bank specializing in rural finance; Opportunity Uganda, a subsidiary of US-based nonprofit Opportunity International; and PostBank Uganda, a government-owned non-bank credit institution, reportedly have partnered with Uptime Solutions Limited, a Uganda-based for-profit company providing technology solutions for financial services and enterprise development, to deploy mobile banking vans to extend financial services to more residents, mainly in rural trading centers. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Releases Regulations Governing New Bank Licenses

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, recently released revised regulations for the licensing of new banks that allow private firms, public sector entities and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) to establish banks through wholly-owned non-operative financial holding companies (NOFHCs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Incofin’s Rural Impulse Fund II, Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI) Frontier Fund, Invest $4.5m in Fusion Microfinance of India

Incofin Investment Management, a Belgium-based manager of microfinance investment funds, and the Norwegian Microfinance Initiative (NMI), a Norway-based corporation that invests in and provides technical support for microfinance institutions (MFIs), recently invested INR 250 million (USD 4.5 million) in Indian non-banking financial company (NBFC) Fusion Microfinance Private Limited. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: China Requires Provinces to Purchase Medical Insurance for Farmers Through Private Providers

The Chinese government reportedly is requiring provincial governments to purchase commercial health insurance for farmers through the New Rural Cooperative Medical Scheme (NRCMS), a social security program run independently by each province and funded by the central government, local governments, farmers’ cooperatives and families. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE EVENT: Microfinance and Impact Investing Initiative (MI3) to Host Symposium “US Poverty, Microentrepreneurs and Microfinance: Needs, Responses and Prospects,” March 28-29, 2013, Haverford, Pennsylvania, US

Event Name: US Poverty, Microentrepreneurs and Microfinance: Needs, Responses and Prospects, “A Symposium for Practitioners, Policymakers, Researchers and Students”

Event Date: March 28-29, 2013

Event Location: Stokes Auditorium, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania, US Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD Plans $200m to Expand Turkish Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (TurSEFF) for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, Private Households

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a London-based multilateral financial institution, is planning to extend the equivalent of USD 200 million in Turkish lira to the Turkish Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (TurSEFF), which offers credit lines for banks to use to fund investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Loans $974k to Araratbank of Armenia

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a microfinance investment vehicle launched by German development bank KfW Entwicklungsbank, has informed MicroCapital that it recently disbursed an AMD 400 million (USD 974,000) loan to open joint stock corporation Araratbank of Armenia, a bank that primarily provides financial services to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Continue reading