Citi, Scaling Microfinance to Achieve Financial Inclusion - Winner 2012

International Award 2012. Reaccredited 2013, 2014

International Award - Large Business Winner 2012

As a cornerstone example of its long-standing commitment to expand financial inclusion, Citi has formed a successful partnership with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). Under this partnership launched in 2006, Citi and OPIC have funded 29 microfinance institutions in 16 countries, directly reaching more than 330,000 local micro-entrepreneurs through small loans, approximately 84% of whom are women.

Business Impact

  • Generates acceptable risk-adjusted returns and new client relationships with microfinance institutions
  • Fuels innovation and strengthens Citi’s relationships with key stakeholders and partners

Society Impact

  • Expands access to capital at the bottom of the pyramid by providing the necessary financing to reach more than 330,000 micro-entrepreneur borrowers
  • Empowers women, with approximately 84% of microloans going to women
  • Forges new frontiers for the microfinance industry by continuing to innovate and engage with other multilateral organisations to expand microfinance

More than 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to financial services that those in the developed world consider essential to daily life. To expand access to financial tools – and the education needed to use them wisely – Citi integrates core businesses, a global perspective and local presence to expand financial inclusion and contribute to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Financial inclusion, a core pillar for Citi

Financial inclusion is central to Citi’s mission. In 2011, Citi CEO Vikram Pandit, in his Letter to Shareholders, observed that Citi would serve the unbanked and underserved population through a growth-oriented strategy that aligns the company’s business priorities in emerging markets with its mission to expand financial inclusion. Pandit further underscored Citi’s dedication to this goal in his opening letter in Citi’s 2010 Global Citizenship Report:
“Banks are an integral part of every economy and every society. And their role is not merely to further people's material well-being – though that is vitally important. Human rights and democracy reach their full potential only where there is economic inclusion for all. That in turn requires financial inclusion."

Citi & OPIC: An Ideal Partnership

As a cornerstone example of fulfilling its financial inclusion mission, Citi formed a $350 million partnership with OPIC, the U.S. government’s foreign development agency. Citi directly funds microfinance institutions in local currency, in local language, and under local law, which in turn provide financial services to micro-entrepreneurs.  The impact of this partnership is wide-reaching. These loans have reached micro-entrepreneurs in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. Through the successful initial partnership with OPIC, Citi has been able to fund 29 microfinance institutions in 16 countries, having a direct outreach of more than 330,000 loans to micro-entrepreneurs, approximately 84% of whom are women, with average loan size of $414.

While the partnership between Citi and OPIC makes business sense for the bank, it also advances Citi’s leadership position in microfinance, expands access to capital at the base of the pyramid, and fosters the economic and social empowerment of women.

With this entry, Citi demonstrates that microfinance is embedded in its core business, with strong senior leadership and ambition. Through strategic partnerships and a clear sense of social purpose, Citi are tackling poverty and empowering women.

- Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick - International Director, Corporate Citizenship, KPMG,
Chair, Award Judging Panel, International Award - Large Company Winner

Vikram Pandit - CEO

As we commemorate Citi's 200th anniversary this year, we continue to champion the core principles that have guided our institution over the last two centuries.  By seeking Financial Inclusion, not only through our foundation but also through core businesses and with partners such as OPIC, we reinforce our commitment to Responsible Finance and enable microfinance institutions to reach the underserved in communities around the world.