This past Wednesday, June 8, U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-6th) stopped by Opportunity’s Oak Brook, Ill. offices to learn more about our work. During his visit, he toured the office, met many members of our US staff, and had a meeting with a few members of our senior staff, including Opportunity CEO Bill Morgenstern, Senior VP Dennis Ripley, VP Simona Haiduc and VP Ruth-Anne Renaud to discuss poverty eradication, the need for global development, and the impact of microfinance on developing countries.
In the meeting among Roskam and our senior leadership, they discussed a number of important issues, and Roskam, who visited Opportunity’s microfinance operations in Accra during his March 2011 bipartisan fact-finding trip to Ghana, got to ask more questions about the structure and the impact of our work around the world. As Bill Morgenstern told Roskam, “We see ourselves as a next-generation solutions provider in the microfinance arena, with three key areas of focus: loans, savings, and insurance. But what separates Opportunity from others is the holistic training that we also provide.” The group went on to discuss the structure and impact of Trust Groups, and the need for building community and accountability in such a high-touch support business. To help put it in perspective–it is truly a collaborative process, side-by-side, as loan officers work with their clients. Opportunity serves almost 1.5 million Trust Group clients through a staff of over 12,000, the majority of whom are local loan officers who are managing portfolios of 200-350 clients.
Rep. Roskam showed interest in learning more about Opportunity’s agricultural finance initiatives, which we offer in Ghana, Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. As Morgenstern told him, “It takes an organization with the breadth and expertise of Opportunity to work with farmers at every stage of the process.”
After Roskam’s visit to our US offices, he reflected on his time in Ghana. He said, “I saw firsthand in March how the microfinance services of Opportunity International is empowering families and businesses within Ghana. Meeting the dedicated Oak Brook staff who help end the cycle of poverty in underdeveloped countries all over the world was an honor and I look forward to seeing the great progress they’ll continue to make in the years to come.”
For more on Roskam’s recent visit to Ghana, click here. For more on Opportunity’s work in that country, including our education finance initiatives and our work with the IDP Rising Schools Program, our agriculture finance program, our partnership with the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), and more, read the Opportunity Blog.