Basic Organization Information
- Also Known As:
- Physical Address:
- Web URL:
- 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
- Year Founded:
- Ruling Year:
Accion is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives.
Accion's vision is to build a financially inclusive world with access to economic opportunity for all.
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.
Impact Summary from the Nonprofit
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.
Forms 990 Provided by the Nonprofit
Letter of Determination is not available for this organization.
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.
Board of Directors
Highest Paid Employees & Their Compensation
- Population Served:
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:
Expert Reviews and Comments
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.
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.
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.