ACCION to Sponsor 'Microfinance for Institutional Investors'

New Washington D.C. Conference to Showcase Frontier Investing Strategies
 for 'Banking the Unbanked'

Washington, D.C., July 28, 2009 – ACCION® International, a pioneer and leader in microfinance, today announced that it will serve as the official sponsor of a new conference examining the latest microfinance investment strategies. 

'Microfinance for Institutional Investors,' scheduled for September 21-23 in Washington, D.C., will analyze next-generation microfinance investments for pension funds, family funds and private wealth managers. In addition to evaluating emerging opportunities in China, India, Bangladesh and the Middle East, the conference will also assess the latest venture capital, or 'frontier,' investment initiatives in industries supporting microfinance.

"Frontier investing looks for the next generation of innovations that will radically enhance the efficiency, reach and scope of financial services for the poor," explained Monica Brand, principal director of ACCION’s Frontier Investments Group and a keynote speaker at the conference.

"Our vision is to bridge the gap between purely philanthropic and for-profit investing by drawing on best practices in both arenas, in order to generate balanced financial returns and high-impact social gains," she continued. "Our goal is to create a new paradigm for financial inclusion by investing in companies that establish new delivery channels; develop new products, such as in microinsurance; and deliver sophisticated risk-management tools."

Chaired by CGAP CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, 'Microfinance for Institutional Investors' will also feature speakers from TIAA-CREF, SKS Microfinance, Standard Chartered, Citigroup, the Inter-American Development bank, Deutsch Bank, J.P. Morgan and many others. Supporting partners include Symbiotics and Impact Capital partners.

ACCION will also sponsor a book-signing breakfast at the conference, on Tuesday morning, September 22, at which Elisabeth Rhyne, author and managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION, will highlight new case studies from her recently-published Microfinance for Bankers and Investors.

About ACCION
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’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 23 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States.  In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 28.5 million loans totaling $23.4 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.  Selected for the fifth consecutive year for its pioneering approaches to poverty alleviation, ACCION was among 45 organizations awarded the 2008 Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company Magazine/Monitor Group.  ACCION has also been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating – four stars – for efficiency and sound fiscal management, for the second consecutive year.  For more information, visit www.accion.org.

ACCION® is a registered trademark of ACCION International.

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Contact:
Bruce MacDonald
SVP, Communications
ACCION International
Tel: +1-617-625-7080, x1245
bmacdonald@accion.org