Cambridge, MA, October 26, 2016 – Financial inclusion pioneer Accion announced today that it will award the second Edward W. Claugus Award to Kshama Fernandes, Managing Director and CEO of IFMR Capital, in honor of her outstanding leadership to advance access to quality financial services for the underserved. Accion will present the award on the evening of Thursday, October 27, at a reception in New York.
“IFMR is a financial inclusion pioneer in India—reaching the financially underserved both through the capital markets and directly through its work in rural and remote areas throughout the country. Kshama’s leadership has helped small businesses, microfinance lenders, and other financial institutions get the funds they need to help bring those who are excluded into the formal economy,” said Accion President and CEO Michael Schlein. “We are honored to celebrate her leadership in fostering a financially inclusive world, and present her with the Edward W. Claugus Award.”
Accion partner IFMR Holdings is a family of companies delivering financial services to India’s low-income population. Fernandes is Managing Director and CEO of IFMR Capital, a subsidiary that provides financing to some of the best-rated financial inclusion intermediaries in India. In turn, these organizations help finance homes, automobiles, small businesses, and more. By providing a crucial link between the capital markets and more than 100 of India’s most prominent financial intermediaries, IFMR Capital is helping draw attention and resources to India’s financial inclusion sector, and is leading the way for scaled growth of financial inclusion across the country.
Fernandes has helped IFMR Capital source funds from a growing and diverse number of investors, including mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance companies; many of IFMR’s funders are brand new to the industry. To-date, IFMR Capital has raised more than $5 billion in financing for its originators, who in turn serve 15 million households in the country.
The Claugus Award is named in honor of Accion benefactor Edward W. Claugus, a skilled investor who was passionate about social change. Although Claugus realized significant professional success, he empathized with the people that Accion serves around the world: the struggling farmers, women, and families who lack the necessary financial tools and services to build better lives. The Claugus Award recognizes leaders who have made important contributions to advancing financial inclusion and represents one portion of Accion’s programs funded thanks to The Edward W. Claugus Fund.
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world with economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. We are building the next generation of top-tier microfinance institutions, and over more than 50 years have helped build 65 such institutions in 32 countries on four continents that today reach millions of clients. Our impact investing initiatives are pushing beyond microfinance to catalyze more than 30 innovative start-ups dedicated to improving the efficiency, reach, and scope of financial services for the poor. And our Center for Financial Inclusion is helping to build a stronger industry with high standards and broad engagement. Currently, our work spans nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., where we are the nation’s largest nonprofit microfinance network. For further information, visit http://www.accion.org.