|Accion U.S. Network|
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Joseph Blatchford, founder|
The Accion U.S. Network is part of Accion International, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization operating globally, with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need to create or grow healthy businesses. The domestic Accion programs started in Brooklyn, NY, and grew from there to become the first nationwide network microlender.
In addition to having lending offices in nearly 30 cities, Accion also offers online lending. Its four member offices are:
Accion offers microloans and other financial services to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs in the United States who are typically unable to access bank credit to start or expand their small business. Services offered include a small business loan program, a "Credit Builder" loan program, and a financial literacy program offered in several languages. In addition, Accion’s national partnerships with Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream, Sam’s Club, Citi Salutes: Realizing Your Dream, and The Hartford: Communities with HART offer Accion’s clients a wide range of opportunities and support for growth, such as personalized business coaching, business seminars, and regional and national competitions.
In 2014, Accion celebrated 20 years of supporting small businesses in America. The anniversary marked 20 years of “firsts” with Accion being the first microlender in the U.S. to provide credit reports to all three bureaus, the first to provide online microlending, and the first to provide nationwide underwriting.
The Accion U.S. Network is the largest of its kind in the United States, having made nearly 50,000 loans, totaling over $450 million with a 90% loan repayment rate as of January 2014. In addition, Accion lends over $3.7 million to small businesses a month. Accion works with groups that might not qualify for traditional financing, such as women, minorities, and immigrants, to give them the financial tools they need to build their business.
Accion’s most recent outcomes data from its 2013 microTracker survey, which was conducted in partnership with the Aspen Institute and California microlender Opportunity Fund, showed that:
Since its inception, Accion has won numerous regional and national awards and acknowledgements for its success in microlending. Collectively, the member offices received the 1997 Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development as part of the Accion U.S. Network. In addition, they have been awarded several grants from the Community Development Financial Institution and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Awards include:
Accion is a global nonprofit with a mission to advance financial inclusion by giving people the financial tools to improve their lives. Founded as a community development initiative serving the poor in Venezuela, Accion is known as a pioneer in the fields of microfinance and fintech impact investing.According to the World Bank's 2017 Global Findex, close to two billion people are unbanked and millions more are underserved by the world's formal financial system. In order to meet the needs of those who are left out of – or poorly served by – the global financial sector, Accion leverages the power of the capital markets to help financial institutions reach scale and sustainability. Its three-pronged approach involves investing in financial service providers to maximize social impact and financial returns, supporting partners with advisory and governance services, and influencing the industry to focus on the obstacles and solutions on the path to financial inclusion.Along with Grameen Bank and FINCA International, Accion is considered to be one of the most influential financial inclusion organizations in the world.To-date, it has helped tens of millions of people through its work with more than 110 partners in 50 countries.
Accion is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and also has offices in Washington, D.C.; Bogota, Colombia; Mumbai, India; and Beijing, China. Accion works across Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In the U.S., Accion operates as the largest nationwide nonprofit lending network in the United States.Microcredit
This article is specific to small loans, often provided in a pooled manner. For direct payments to individuals for specific projects, see Micropatronage. For financial services to the poor, see Microfinance. For small payments, see Micropayment.Microcredit is the extension of very small loans (microloans) to impoverished borrowers who typically lack collateral, steady employment, or a verifiable credit history. It is designed to support entrepreneurship and alleviate poverty. Many recipients are illiterate, and therefore unable to complete paperwork required to get conventional loans. As of 2009 an estimated 74 million people held microloans that totaled US$38 billion. Grameen Bank reports that repayment success rates are between 95 and 98 percent.Microcredit is part of microfinance, which provides a wider range of financial services, especially savings accounts, to the poor. Modern microcredit is generally considered to have originated with the Grameen Bank founded in Bangladesh in 1983. Many traditional banks subsequently introduced microcredit despite initial misgivings. The United Nations declared 2005 the International Year of Microcredit. As of 2012, microcredit is widely used in developing countries and is presented as having "enormous potential as a tool for poverty alleviation." Microcredit is a tool that can be helpful to possibly reduce feminization of poverty in developing countries.
However, a skeptical approach is advisable when assessing the effectiveness of microcredit. Critics argue that microcredit has not had a positive impact on gender relationships, does not alleviate poverty, has led many borrowers into a debt trap and constitutes a "privatization of welfare".
The first randomized evaluation of microcredit, conducted by Esther Duflo and others, showed mixed results: there was no effect on household expenditure, gender equity, education or health, but the number of new businesses increased by one third compared to a control group.