Citi, OPIC and Bank of Georgia Support the Growth of the Microfinance Sector in ...
Georgia, November, 14 2013 -
Citi, OPIC, and the Bank of Georgia announced the closing of a USD $10 million term loan to fund the growth of Bank of Georgia’s Microfinance portfolio to promote the financial inclusion of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Republic of Georgia.
This loan will be the first from Citi and OPIC for the microfinance sector in Georgia, and is a part of Citi and OPIC’s joint global initiative to support microfinance lending in emerging markets.
“We are delighted with this opportunity to join forces with Citi and OPIC to extend loans to small businesses in Georgia. The newly-drawn facility will further enhance Bank of Georgia’s competitiveness in micro lending, a segment that makes up a sizeable part of the Bank’s Retail Banking loan portfolio. This facility will also allow the Bank to continue supporting the development of small businesses, which is fundamental for the growth of the country’s economy” said Irakli Gilauri, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of Georgia.
“Expanded access to finance for the micro and small enterprise sector has the potential to accelerate economic growth in Georgia and broaden financial inclusion for those outside the economic mainstream,” said Steve Donovan, Citi’s Regional Executive of Treasury & Trade Solutions for MENA, Turkey and Central Asia. “This transaction demonstrates and reinforces Citi’s and OPIC’s shared commitment to unlock opportunities to access both start-up and sustaining capital for aspiring and established small businesses.”
“Small businesses are fundamental to economic growth and job creation but often still struggle to obtain the financing needed to support and expand their operations” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC President and CEO. “OPIC’s longstanding partnership with Citi has provided financing to thousands of micro and small-businesses in regions that are underserved by the financial sector and we are delighted to expand this same partnership to Georgia” Littlefield added.
Through the successful partnership with OPIC, to date Citi has been able provide $360 million to fund 40 microfinance institutions in 22 countries, having a direct outreach to more than 975,000 borrowers, approximately 91% of whom are women. Citi’s strong commitment to promote financial inclusion through innovation, thought leadership, and building the financial capability of clients is very well recognized. Citi was awarded the top prize in the International Award category at the Business in the Community’s Awards for Excellence 2012 for “Scaling Microfinance to Achieve Financial Inclusion,” a case study of Citi’s partnership with OPIC to develop new distribution models to access micro entrepreneurs in developing markets.
Working across Citi’s businesses, product groups and geographies, Citi Microfinance serves more than 140 microfinance institutions, networks and investors as clients and partners in 40 countries, with products and services spanning the financial spectrum – from financing, access to capital markets, transaction services and hedging foreign exchange risk, to credit, savings, remittances and insurance products - to expand access to financial services for the underserved.