OPIC approves $250-million global microfinance financing programme with Citi

Mumbai: Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) today approved up to $250 million to expand its existing microfinance lending programme with Citi to finance borrowers in emerging markets worldwide.

OPIC says the facility has the potential to reach more than 480,000 borrowers.

OPIC aleady has a $100-million microfinancing funding facility with Citi since December 2006, under which the two institutions provide financing to 23 MFIs in 13 countries.

OPIC underwrites the risk to Citi originated and funded local currency loans to microfinance institutions (MFIs), which in turn make small loans to micro-borrowers in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The project represents the expansion of

''The global economic crisis has significantly curtailed microfinance lending, raising the cost of lending and causing liquidity problems for many MFIs,'' said OPIC's acting president Dr. Lawrence Spinelli, in a statement.

Spinelli added, ''MFIs need access to markets and funding to continue their work. By expanding an existing – and successful – microfinancing facility with Citi, OPIC is working proactively to help address this shortfall.''