ACCION Launches Microfinance Operations in Amazon

Jun 2011
Manaus, Brazil, June, 07 2011 - ACCION® International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced the inauguration of ACCION Microfinanças, a new microfinance organization located in Manaus, the capital of the state of Amazonas in Brazil's northern region, where access to financial services remains more limited than in most of the country.

ACCION Microfinanças, which launched unofficially when it began lending operations on February 1st of this year, is providing working-capital loans and other financial services to the working poor of Manaus.  The institution plans to expand to other cities throughout Brazil’s northern region. The northern region, comprising seven states with a total population of about 14.7 million, is home to an estimated 1.9 million microentrepreneurs, only 8 to 10 percent of whom have been able to access any kind of financial services from banks or microfinance organizations.

ACCION Microfinanças is ACCION’s second majority-owned microfinance institution, and follows the establishment, in late 2009, of ACCION Microfinance China, in Inner Mongolia, a region which remains similarly underserved by microfinance.  Co-investors in ACCION Microfinanças include the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and private investors.

ACCION Microfinanças will offer lines of credit, longer-term fixed-asset loans, financial education and, eventually, micro-insurance products and credit cards. In so doing, it is applying new approaches to best serve the needs of Amazonas microentrepreneurs.  These include employment of a credit scoring and a cash flow-based credit assessment model; making use of Brazil’s extensive correspondent banking system to partner with banks and extend services through retail stores and other outlets; and deploying payment technologies such as PDAs, prepaid bank cards and mobile banking.

"We’re particularly excited about launching ACCION Microfinanças because it allows ACCION to bring its very best in investment, management services, technical assistance and social performance to bear for the microentrepreneurs of Amazonas," said Michael Schlein, president and CEO of ACCION.  "It is for us something of a return to roots, as it was in Recife, Brazil that ACCION first helped pioneer the concept of microlending in 1973."

"ACCION Microfinanças is well-positioned to reach out to the microentrepreneurs of the area and offer products that are convenient and that will, ultimately, help many people to build a far more solid economic future," said Eduardo Lucchesi, CEO of ACCION Microfinanças.

Source : Accion

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