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ACCION International

AKA  Accion
Boston, MA
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&1002; Registered with IRS Legitimacy information is available
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&1002; Financial Data Annual Revenue and Expense data reported
&1002; Forms 990 2012, 2011, and 2010 Forms 990 filed with the IRS
&1002; Mission Objectives Mission Statement is available
&1002; Impact Summary Impact Summary from the nonprofit and Charting Impact Report are available
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Basic Organization Information

ACCION International
Also Known As: Accion
Physical Address: Boston, MA 02129 
EIN: 13-2535763
Web URL: www.accion.org 
NTEE Category: J Employment, Job Related
J99 Employment, Job Related N.E.C.
Q International, Foreign Affairs, and National Security
Q32 International Economic Development
S Community Improvement, Capacity Building
S30 Economic Development
Ruling Year: 1965 


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Mission Statement

Our Mission Accion is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. Our Vision Accion's vision is to build a financially inclusive world with access to economic opportunity for all. Our Belief We believe in a financially inclusive world—one in which every individual can seize the opportunity to access a full range of high-quality, affordable financial services. Through access, each person we serve can capitalize on his or her own capability and drive to achieve real economic gains—and build brighter futures for themselves and their families.

Legitimacy Information

This organization is registered with the IRS.

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Annual Revenue & Expenses (GuideStar Exchange,
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December 2013)

Fiscal Year Starting: January 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: December 31, 2012

Total Revenue $35,861,058
Total Expenses $44,195,117

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December 2013)

Fiscal Year Starting: January 1, 2012
Fiscal Year Ending: December 31, 2012

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Forms 990 Received from the IRS Additional Information
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Annual Reports

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Leadership (GuideStar Exchange,
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December 2013)

Michael Schlein

Profile:

Michael Schlein, named president and CEO of Accion in September 2009, brings 25 years of extensive international banking, management and public service experience to the microfinance organization.Formerly President of Citigroup’s International Franchise Management unit, Mr. Schlein helped manage the bank’s network of 100 Chief Country Officers, who were responsible for performance, regulatory relations, governance and reputational risk in their respective countries. In previous roles, Mr. Schlein also oversaw Citi's Human Resources and Global Corporate Affairs. A member of Citigroup's Operating Committee, he served as Executive Director of Citi’s Business Practices Committee, and as a Director of Citibank, N.A., Poland’s Bank Handlowy and Citibank Korea, Inc.Prior to his senior posts at Citi, Mr. Schlein served as Chief of Staff at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as Chief of Staff for the New York City Deputy Mayor for Finance and Economic Development. He began his career in public finance investment banking at Smith Barney. Mr. Schlein has been involved with microfinance for years through both Citi and Accion. He has played a leadership role at the Citi Foundation, which has a long history of funding microfinance initiatives, and he has served on the Board, and more recently the Executive Committee, of Accion. Mr. Schlein also sits on the boards of nonprofit organizations Wildcat Service Corporation and New York Cares. He is a corporate member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves on the Business Council of the Asia Society. Mr. Schlein holds a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1984. He resides with his family in New York.

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December 2013)

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December 2013)

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People information was last updated by the nonprofit in December 2013

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Programs

Program: Microlending Programs (GuideStar Exchange,
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December 2013)

Budget:
$16,763,290
Category:
Community Development
Population Served:
General Public/Unspecified

Program Description:

One of the pioneers of microlending, Accion is a private nonprofit organization with 30 years of expertise in the field. Since 1973, Accion and its network of partners have worked to reduce unemployment and help alleviate poverty throughout Latin America and Africa by providing microloans--small, short-term loans to the self-employed. Microloans, along with business training, provide the support these microentrepreneurs need to improve their lives - to make enough money to feed the family, send a child to school instead of to work, or employ a neighbor. Accion's clientele - cobblers, street vendors, seamstresses and taxi drivers - traditionally considered "bad credit risks" by traditional banks, have proven to be quite the contrary. Accion's partners currently operate in 21 countries in Latin America and Africa, and in over 30 cities in the U.S. Over the last decade, the Accion Network has loaned nearly$341 million through over 44,000 loans since the inception of its pilot program in 1991. It currently serves more than 4,850 active borrowers, making it the largest microfinance network in the country. In Latin America and Africa, first loans start as low as $100. In the United States, loans begin as low as $500. Loan size increases incrementally as clients' microenterprises grow, providing them with the capital they need to work their way out of poverty. Accion's goal is to make access to financial services - including credit, savings, home improvement loans, insurance - a permanent resource for those living in poverty worldwide. At the heart of this vision is the recognition that microfinance must be financially sustainable, not perennially dependent on donations or government aid. There will never be enough donor funds to reach even a fraction of the world's 2.5 billion people who lack access to these critical financial services. For this reason, Accion programs are designed to become financially self-sufficient within three to five years. Microlenders that are financially self-sufficient can attract private investment, giving them the funds to reach many more people. Accion works to connect microlenders to the billions of dollars in the world's capital markets by helping them to become commercially viable. Accion has played a key role in the creation of a number of fully commercial microfinance institutions including BancoSol in Bolivia, Mibanco in Peru, Compartamos in Mexico and Finamérica in Colombia. These institutions are demonstrating that it is possible for a commercial lender to both serve otherwise high-risk clients and be profitable. BancoSol has issued more than $500 million in Certificates of Deposit backed only by the promise to pay of thousands of Bolivian microentrepreneurs. In this way, BancoSol and other microfinance institutions are beginning to access the wealth of the capital markets to help the very people our system has traditionally left behind. In 1991, Accion decided to bring its microlending experience to the United States to foster economic growth in distressed urban centers. In 1997, President Clinton honored Accion and its U.S. Network with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development for its success in demonstrating the viability of microlending in the United States.

Program Long-Term Success:

Loaned more than $1.2 billion to 1.16 million poor men and women in Latin America and Africa, helping them grow their tiny businesses and support their families.

Program Short-Term Success:

Program Success Monitored by:

Program Success Examples:

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Impact Summary from the Nonprofit Additional Information
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In 2011, Accion made significant progress toward our goals by: Inaugurating ACCION Microfinanças in Brazil, in June – a new MFI in the heart of the Amazon, where half of the region’s 14 million inhabitants live in poverty. Creating microfinance services for rural clients in Latin America through a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank. Over 130,000 clients in Peru, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Colombia and Ecuador have already been reached with rural credit products. Micro-savings programs that help clients recover from natural disasters and other unexpected events have been rolled out in Peru, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. Building and strengthening EB-ACCION Microfinance, a new microfinance institution in Cameroon, where more than 65 percent of the actively employed population lacks access to any form of secure, financial services. Providing secure savings accounts for more than 250,000 low-income people served by our partners in Tanzania, Nigeria and Cameroon, and proudly recognizing the achievement of both ACCION Microfinance Bank (AMfB) in Nigeria as ‘Microfinance Bank of the Year,' and EB-ACCION Savings and Loans in Ghana as African Banker’s ‘Microfinance Institution/Project of the Year 2011.’ Strengthening our pioneering microfinance work in Chifeng, Inner Mongolia, China through partnership with the International Finance Corporation. Redoubling our commitment to the future of Indian microfinance, through equity investments and guarantees for our Mumbai-and Bihar-based partners, Swadhaar and Saija. Increasing opportunity here at home by working ever more closely with the ACCION U.S. Network- the largest microlending network in the country. Since inception, the Network has extended more than $300 million in small, working-capital loans. Continuing to explore un-served and underserved countries and regions of the world, such as Kenya, the Philippines, Pakistan and beyond, where our management, investment and governance skills can help foster financial inclusion. Our Frontier Investments Group continued to invest in ground-breaking financial services this year, such as mobile payments in Zambia, cashless payments in Peru, and a new technology services company in India staffed by people with disabilities.
For more in-depth information about this organization's impact, view their Charting Impact Report.

Expert Reviews and Comments

2012 Philanthropedia Top Nonprofit

This organization is a 2012 Philanthropedia top nonprofit, recommended by experts as having high impact.

These expert reviews were generated through Philanthropedia's research methodology to identify high-impact nonprofits. Learn more

Evidence of Impact

Accion is global nonprofit serving in 23 countries around the world to bring economic opportunities to many. Their model allows them to serve an impressive volume of clients, which not only helps those clients, but also helps to change the conversation in the sector. They offer valuable technical assistance to their affiliate organizations, and as a result, many of their affiliates are market leaders in their region.

Excelent Partnerships
They have been working with best-in-class microfinance institutions around the world promoting innovative products. Researcher and Faculty
Great Management Approach
ACCION has had an impact through high outreach among the very poor. They also have a social-impact orientation in their management approach. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Quality Technical Assistance
ACCION provides top-notch technical assistance to microfinance institutions, and also publishes information about microfinance issues in general. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACCION has provided technical assistance in key areas (governance, organizational development, financial management, etc.) that has allowed its affiliates to scale up while maintaining portfolio quality. Several of its affiliates are market leaders in Latin America. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACCION has a strong technical team, clear products, and gives very high quality technical assistance to affiliates. Specifically, I would cite affiliates and graduates of the ACCION network such as Genesis Empresarial in Guatemala, Compartamos in Mexico, and some in East Europe/Central Asia and Africa (Uganda). Other
Taking Microfinance to Scale
I think ACCION’s partner outreach numbers speak for themselves in terms of demonstrating how microfinance can be taken to a massive scale. Unfortunately, there haven't been enough studies done to understand whether this financial services expansion has produced the hoped for economic and social benefits, but I include them in this list because they have had an undeniable impact on shaping the agenda and thinking in the sector. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Their impact is evident in the scope and sheer number of loans made and people reached. Foundation Professional
ACCION, just in sheer numbers, has led the way in reaching scale and sustainable banking for lower income microfinance clients. It has also had a huge impact and stirred the pot in the microfinance industry. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACCION Texas is the largest and most effective nonprofit lender in the United States. The 2004 study, “Economic and Community Impact of ACCION Texas Lending” by Economist Jon Hockenyos of Texas Perspectives, Inc., confirmed that for every dollar loaned, an additional 60 cents in new economic activity is created. Between 1994 and early 2011, ACCION Texas, Inc. made $109.3 million in loans, which produced $175 million in new economic activity. Their micro loans also create employment. ACCION borrowers sustained over 4,000 jobs and created almost 2,200 new jobs between June 1994 and 2008. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have been a pioneer in microfinance since 1980, first commercialization starting in Bolivia and then extending to the rest of the developing world and the USA. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Organizational Strengths

Many experts commented on the knowledge and expertise that Accion offers. The staff members on board are experienced across an array of topics in the industry, and are also thought leaders in the field. Accion's leadership is visionary and offers the organization stability. The organization offers an array of services and microfinance products that are truly beneficial to clients. So much so, that many of their clients go on to become leaders in their region. The organization’s track record is another great asset for Accion.

Great Leadership
Succession in leadership has been very strong while retaining program continuity. Staff experience has led to strong program implementation. Other
They have very forward-thinking CEOs, both in the general company and the Center for Financial Inclusion. These CEOs have a strong vision of what needs to be done to keep microfinance on mission. They also stay involved at industry and policymaking levels to make sure it happens. Nonprofit Senior Staff
I'd like to point out a distinction between organizations that offer the world of microfinance a guiding example of good practice but have very little direct voice in global policy debates and those that use guiding examples to articulate policy positions to become thought leaders in the world of microfinance. ACCION is strong in both dimensions. Several of their affiliates have become guiding examples and ACCION has effectively used these and other examples to formulate and project a distinctive and influential point of view in global policy debates. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Impressive Track Record
Their partner microfinance institutions are now some of the best known microfinance institutions around the world. Researcher and Faculty
Knowledgeable Staff
They have a strong presence in Latin America and a wide range of microfinance expertise. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACCION has attracted a strong staff with expertise in many key technical areas. They also have published a lot of useful books and manuals on diverse topics in the sector. Nonprofit Senior Staff
The folks at ACCION are good at taking a particular challenge and working on it intensively until they have come up with a possible way forward. They have strong technical expertise and the funds to invest in innovation and pushing the envelope. ACCION brings a highly professional approach to each of the key sector challenges that it chooses to tackle. Nonprofit Senior Staff
ACCION has a team of high caliber, experienced practitioners and thought leaders to push the envelope for the industry in areas such as consumer protection, commercialization, savings, and non-credit products. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Great Communications
They have tremendous PR. No other organization gets as much ink in the media. They also are strong in attracting corporate and foundation support. Foundation Professional
Quality Services
They are leaders in the Smart Finance Initiative. Other
ACCION Texas, part of the larger ACCION network, is strong in terms of how it interfaces with its business development clients to create trusted relationships, and how it offers a range of needed services to help clients build better lives. Such services include the ability to obtain credit, financial and business training, a sense of confidence in themselves as business people, independence, the security of knowing they have a reliable source of financing, and networking with other ACCION businesses. Nonprofit Senior Staff

Areas for Improvement

Experts point out that the great work Accion is doing could inadvertently be undermined by the organization’s recent shift in practices. Their shifted focus seems to prioritize the organization’s financial goals over their social goals. They may wish to reconsider this shift. Given the organization’s size, they may also want to look closely at how their actions impact the sector as a whole - but in terms of identifying opportunities to support the sector and also in terms of how negative publicity may impact the industry. ACCION could also reach out to clients in more rural communities.

Improve Outreach
They should improve on their application of lessons learned. Also, the outreach side of programs needs to be improved Other
They need to start working on the provision of financial services in rural areas tailored to agriculture and clients in remote locations. Researcher and Faculty
Prioritize Social Bottom-Line
They need to become more focused on microfinance clients. The new leadership is very corporate and may be losing touch with the core clientele. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They have opted for a model that takes minority stakes in their commercialized affiliates. This limits their ability to influence policy and decisions relating to the social impact of their work vs. achievement of financial goals. This means their affiliates could at some point depart from the social mission by de-emphasizing it and instead focusing on reaching financial goals. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They need more of focus on the social bottom line. More investment is needed in studying outcomes. They would also be well-served to look at more openly collaborating with others working along the same lines, rather than taking a competitive or proprietary position. I would like to see ACCION become more client-centered. It's focus on client protection, while it has been helpful to the sector, is missing an appreciation of the extreme vulnerability of poor and very poor and places to much responsibility on them to protect themselves. An important challenge in the sector that I wish ACCION would tackle is reducing client vulnerability. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Work Better within the Sector
They received extremely poor press over the Comportamos fiasco. The entire microfinance industry took a huge hit as many donors disapproved of what appears to be Board Members and others getting wealthy off the poor and from the donations of others. We all lost credibility as a result. Foundation Professional
ACCION has some challenges with management and effective use of resources across its many parts. It will eventually need to move away from an institution focus on broader areas of support to grow the capacity of the industry, rather than just focusing on its own members. Nonprofit Senior Staff
They should work with other lenders and stop trying to dump their bad loans off on them. Nonprofit Senior Staff
Emphazise Savings
They could improve by placing more emphasis on savings. Nonprofit Senior Staff
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