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Citibank, US Embassy in Dom Rep launch loan facility to boost microfinance

Citibank announced recently that it has partnered with the United States Embassy, as part of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), to launch a loan facility that will allow microfinance institutions to expand services to an additional 23,000 entrepreneurs in the Dominican Republic — 14,000 of them women.

ADOPEM — founded to promote the financial and social inclusion of vulnerable populations in the Dominican Republic, namely women and young entrepreneurs — will receive US$10 million to expand its microfinance efforts and serve its over 400,000 clients.

Maximo Vidal, general manager, Citi, Dominican Republic (Photo: El Dinero)

With a portfolio of more than DOP$8.8 billion and over 30 years’ history of microfinance pioneer, ADOPEM has transformed the Dominican Republic’s microfinance industry. The company controls 30 per cent of the microfinance market share through its network of 74 branches, 200 non-banking correspondents and 1,450 staff members.

“We are proud to be able to support ADOPEM’s efforts and encourage small businesses to develop and grow. Citi is recognised worldwide for its long-term leadership in this area and we believe that we have a fundamental responsibility to help expand financial inclusion institutions in our country,” said Máximo Vidal, general manager of Citi in the Dominican Republic.

“Loan safeguards and insurance programmes ensure greater access to financing by micro, small and medium businesses in the world and foster the creation of infrastructure, business opportunities, low-income housing development, and other important development projects.”

— US Ambassador to the Dominican Republicn Robin S Bernstein

In the Dominican Republic, only about 56 per cent of the adult population has a bank account. For low-income households across the country, access to financial services is 23 per cent lower than people with higher incomes.

This transaction is the first of its kind for Citi in the Dominican Republic and forms part of the Global Inclusive Finance Framework. A public-private partnership between the bank and OPIC, the US Government-sanctioned programme works alongside businesses and microfinance institutions in emerging markets to provide microloans to people in need of support.

According to the US Ambassador to the Dominican Republicn Robin S Bernstein, “OPIC is a key element offered by the United States Government to promote foreign direct investment to developing countries. Loan safeguards and insurance programmes ensure greater access to financing by micro, small and medium businesses in the world and foster the creation of infrastructure, business opportunities, low-income housing development, and other important development projects.”

Through Citi/OPIC programmes, Citi country businesses, Citi Inclusive Finance, and the Institutional Clients Group’s Export Agency Finance Group have shored up US$505.5 million in debt capital to 53 inclusive businesses from 26 countries while helping to drive the efforts of over 1.37 million entrepreneurs, of whom 87 per cent are women.

“At Citi, we aim to harness our global footprint and innovative partnership with OPIC to meet the needs of unbanked and underbanked households in emerging economies,” Managing Director, Citi Inclusive Finance Jorge Rubio Nava stated.

Jorge Rubio Nava, managing director, Citi Inclusive Finance

“These transactions demonstrate how, by working with local intermediaries like ADOPEM, we can provide sustainable financial services that enable lower-income entrepreneurs to achieve greater financial indepence and resilience,” he continued.