OPIC Partners with Calvert Foundation to support funding microfinance Institutions

Mar 2008
Washington D.C., United States, March, 27 2008 - The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) will provide $10 million in financing to a foundation that raises capital – potentially helping to change the way American retail investors channel support to MFIs and other social investments, OPIC President and CEO Robert Mosbacher, Jr. announced today.

OPIC’s investment guaranty will enable the Calvert Social Investment Foundation (Calvert Foundation) to increase its ability to raise capital.

Specifically, OPIC’s financing will allow Calvert Foundation to sell up to $143 million of its Calvert Community Investment Notes on MicroPlace, an online microfinance investment marketplace for socially responsible people to make an impact on global poverty and earn a return on their investments. Proceeds of the notes will be used to fund loans to worthy MFIs around the world. Calvert Foundation intends to target a significant portion of the capital raised using MicroPlace to make loans to smaller MFIs, whose clients have typically lacked the same access to capital as those of larger institutions, as well as to provide local currency loans to MFIs, thereby reducing cross-border currency risk.

“This innovative project provides a new model for enabling socially-responsible American investors to support microfinance activities in developing countries,” Mosbacher said. “By taking advantage of a new online investment system, it also leverages OPIC’s financing to great effect, and for the benefit of smaller MFIs that have previously lacked adequate access to capital.”

“OPIC is pleased to work with Calvert Foundation on such a potentially instrumental project. We expect that it will lead to other, similar partnerships in the near future,” Mosbacher said.

Calvert Foundation raises investment capital from individuals and institutions, and uses it to provide affordable loans to nonprofit organizations that help underserved communities. Its portfolio finances affordable homes, funds small businesses and finances essential community services.

OPIC was established as an agency of the U.S. government in 1971. It helps U.S. businesses invest overseas, fosters economic development in new and emerging markets, complements the private sector in managing risks associated with foreign direct investment, and supports U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers.


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