Monday, December 10, 2012

India # 44 Accion provides Loans in 8 hours, insurance for HIV carriers...

On the way back from India I got a good briefing on what Accion is doing around the world and spoke to some donors in New York City.  Here are some highlights:

·      The best thing about New York was hearing veteran observers say Accion’s biggest accomplishment in Latin America was that it “changed the image of the poor.”  In an online reunion of Accion alumni a few days later, founder Joe Blatchford explained how this happened.  “We took business leaders into the Caracas barrios and they ended up saying, ‘We had no idea.  I want to start hiring these people.’”  This went on country after country and the story got out.  Now an amazing number of Americans know that the “financially disadvantaged” repay 98 percent of their micro-loans.

·      The Accion affiliate Avansa in Colombia hands out money 24 hours after receiving a loan application and expects to drive this down to eight hours early next year.  How?  Modern data-mining (credit scoring) and 40 years of learning who will repay loans.  (Wouldn’t you like similar service in the U. S.?)

·      Ninety percent of Kenyans have a cell phone and use digital cash—sending and receiving money over their phones.  It’s easily the world leader in utilizing this technology. Tanzania, just next door, failed to reach critical mass and has consequently not done the same thing.

·      Accion partner Swadhaar in Mumbai is launching mobile wallet technology using the telecommunications giant Airtel.  “The future of financial inclusion is your mobile phone,” says Accion’s twice-yearly newsletter, Ventures.  Accion is also investing in digital money companies in Southeast Asia and Chile. 

·      An Accion partner in South Africa is insuring the lives of carriers of HIV—and making money!

·      Accion’s network provided 56 million loans worth 46 billion in the last l0 years.

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