ACCION International

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ACCION International is a global nonprofit organization that supports microfinance institutions in their work to provide financial services to low-income clients. Accion provides management services, technical assistance, debt and equity investment and training to microfinance institutions and microfinance support organizations. The organization promotes the commercial model of microfinance, in which microfinance institutions obtain a double-bottom-line -- achieving both social and financial goals. Michael Schlein is the President and CEO of the company.[1]

Over its 52-year history, Accion helped build 63 microfinance institutions in 32 countries on four continents. Today, Accion works with an active network of 28 microfinance institutions in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. As of January, 2012, those institutions were collectively serving 5.1 million people with microloans (a total portfolio of $9.9 billion) and 2,095,422 people with savings products.

Headquartered in Boston, United States, Accion also has offices in Washington, D.C., United States; Bogota, Colombia; Accra, Ghana; Bangalore, India and Beijing, China.

The organization is also the majority owner and primary operator of two microfinance institutions, Accion Microfinanças [2] in Manaus, Brazil and Accion Microcredit China in Chifeng, China.


Accion was founded as a grassroots community development organization in 1961. In the beginning, young, college-educated Americans traveled to Venezuela to catalyze connections between the urban poor and local business leaders and others with resources. The objective was to help people living in poverty to help themselves by organizing their own efforts and talents. Early projects included building schools, community centers and roads. In 1973, Accion began experimenting with microlending—the provision of credit to small-scale, informal economy entrepreneurs—in Recife, Brazil. Following this pilot, the organization increasingly focused its efforts on developing microfinance institutions and the microfinance industry. Accion worked exclusively with microfinance institutions in South and Central America until 1991, when it piloted a microfinance program for entrepreneurs in Brooklyn, NY. Since then, Accion USA exists as a nonprofit microlender for small businesses in the United States. In 2000, Accion began working with microfinance institutions in Africa and, in 2005, expanded to India. In late 2009, Accion established the second foreign-funded microcredit company in China.

See also[edit]

  1. ^ Woolhouse, Megan (1 June 2014). "Seven things you should know about Michael Schlein". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 24 June 2014. 
  2. ^ "ACCION Launches Microfinance Operations in Amazon". PR Newswire. UBM plc. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 

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