Our History

“We adapt our work to meet the most urgent challenges, opening pathways to a brighter, more resilient future.”

For more than 60 years, we have led the way in inclusive finance, shaping an industry that now benefits hundreds of millions of people worldwide.


Accion Founded

Accion was founded by Joe Blatchford, a UC Berkeley law student who later became the 3rd Director of the U.S. Peace Corps. We began with hands-on development projects in Venezuela.


Launching Microcredit

Accion focused on the lack of economic opportunity in Latin American cities and began issuing small loans to microentrepreneurs in Recife, Brazil, launching microfinance in Latin America.


Expanding in Latin America

Accion helped start microfinance programs in 14 Latin American countries to meet the distinct needs of microenterprises. Accion’s clients shattered the myth that lending to low-income people was too risky. During this time, Accion also launched a loan guarantee fund, the Accion Bridge Fund.


Bringing Inclusive Finance to the U.S.

Accion piloted a microlending program in Brooklyn, NY. Accion Opportunity Fund is now the leading nonprofit small business lender in the U.S., serving a client base that’s more than 90% women, people of color, and/or low-to-moderate income.


Inventing a New Model
of Microfinance

Accion co-founded BancoSol in Bolivia, the world’s first private commercial bank for the poor, effectively inventing a model of socially responsible, financially viable microfinance that today impacts the lives of hundreds of millions of low-income clients globally.

Woman entrepreneur and client of Sub-K in India


Global Expansion

Throughout the 2000s, Accion extended operations into Asia and sub-Saharan Africa to reach and support financially underserved people beyond Latin America.


World’s First Global
Equity Fund for

Accion opened doors to private bank funding for microfinance institutions through Accion Investments in Microfinance, allowing inclusive financial service providers to reach more people and establish relationships with the formal financial sector.


World’s First IPO in
Financial Inclusion

The initial public offering of Compartamos Banco in Mexico, the world’s first IPO of an inclusive financial service provider, was a demonstration model for the industry and enabled Accion to expand its mission-driven investments aimed at creating a fair and inclusive economy.


Founding the Center
for Financial Inclusion

Accion established CFI as an independent think tank working to advance a more inclusive and responsible financial system. CFI leverages partnerships to conduct rigorous research, test promising solutions, and advocate for evidence-based change.


Developing Inclusive Fintech

Accion launched Accion Venture Lab, a seed-stage impact investment initiative focused on inclusive fintech. To date, Accion Venture Lab has invested in and supported more than 60 innovative start-ups that expand the reach, quality, and affordability of financial services at scale.

Amelia sells to a customer in Indonesia


World’s First Global
Inclusive Fintech Fund

Accion launched the first global inclusive fintech fund: the Accion Frontier Inclusion Fund, managed by Quona Capital. This and subsequent Quona funds harness the power of the capital markets to improve the quality and availability of financial services.

Daniela in her shop


Building Resilience to
Unprecedented Threats

Accion is working to build an inclusive recovery from the global pandemic. We’re also addressing worsening threats caused by climate change, economic instability, and conflict, focusing our efforts on supporting small businesses, smallholder farmers, and women.


As people’s needs evolve, so does our strategy

We are now developing responsible financial solutions in agritech finance, embedded finance, and innovations addressing the changing nature of work.