ACCION Gateway MicroFinance Infrastructure Fund Invests in PRBC

Equity Fund Supports Pay Rent, Build Credit, Inc., a Leading Alternative Credit Bureau

Boston, Mass.,  March 27, 2007 - 

ACCION® International, a pioneer and leader in global microfinance, today announced that its Gateway MicroFinance Infrastructure Fund (GMI) has completed an investment in PRBC – Pay Rent, Build Credit, Inc. – of Annapolis, Maryland.

GMI is a unique new equity fund designed to invest in technology and information service companies that serve the microfinance industry.  Its investment in PRBC purchases a small stake in the company, and is accompanied by a board observer role for ACCION. It is GMI’s first investment since its creation in June 2006.

PRBC, an economic development credit bureau, is pushing the boundaries in alternative credit, allowing lenders to assess credit-worthiness based on entirely new datasets, including monthly payments of utilities and other commonly recurring non-reported bills, such as insurance and child support. Beyond its investment, ACCION provides PRBC with its experience in credit issuance using alternative data.

“PRBC is a great match for ACCION and exactly the kind of initiative GMI was created to support,” said Lauren A. Burnhill, senior vice president and head of ACCION’s Financial Markets group. “The investment furthers our objective of accelerating development of companies who can help the microfinance industry achieve greater scale and efficiency.”

“PRBC’s alternative approach to credit data will lift barriers that have prevented many people, traditionally deemed ‘credit impaired,’ from accessing appropriate financial services, or that have pushed them into the hands of predatory lenders,” added Ms. Burnhill.  “PRBC’s methodology, combined with ACCION’s experience in credit for the underserved, should enable us to increase financial inclusion both at home and abroad.”

About ACCION International
ACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training, and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty.  A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. ACCION International’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 22 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and in the U.S. In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 14 million loans totaling more than $9.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid. Selected for the fourth consecutive year for its pioneering approaches to poverty alleviation, ACCION is among 43 organizations awarded the 2007 Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company magazine, and has been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating – four stars – for  efficiency and sound fiscal management. For more information, visit

About PRBC
PRBC accumulates, scores and reports bill payment data such as rent, mortgage, auto loans, utilities, phone, insurance and other recurring payments, operating as a credit reporting agency as defined under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.  PRBC enables consumers to demonstrate their ability and willingness to pay all of their bills on time, providing an indicator of creditworthiness even if the consumer has not used ‘traditional’ debt.  Lenders can order a PRBC Reportsm, which merges Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion credit reports with a PRBC bill payment history, Bill Payment Scoresm (BPSsm), and can be used either to supplement, or in lieu of, a traditional credit report and score in order  to gain a more complete and accurate risk assessment of an applicant.  There is no charge to consumers enrolling in the service. For more on PRBC, visit


ACCION® is a registered trademark of ACCION International.

Media contacts:
Hannah Caldwell Henderson
Senior Director
ACCION International
Tel: +1-617-625-7080, x1215


Michael Nathans
Chief Development Officer
Tel: +1-443-569-8042