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Opportunity International Provides Crucial Support to Microfinance Bank in Haiti

By Cynthia Greenwood

Fonkoze, the largest microfinance organization in Haiti, is being hailed for its distribution of cash more quickly than traditional banks after the earthquake destroyed the country’s banking infrastructure. Opportunity International has been playing a crucial supporting role to Fonkoze in getting the bank up and running after the disaster.

After years of struggling to adapt traditional banking software to its microfinance operations, Fonkoze began working with Opportunity to implement the technology tools it needed to manage its operations. The same technology innovations Opportunity developed for its microfinance banks around the world are now used at Fonkoze.

When the earthquake struck, Fonkoze’s main headquarters and a number of branches were destroyed. Once Fonkoze was able to get its hardware set up again, Opportunity began working with them behind the scenes to restore their operations. Within four days, half of Fonkoze’s 42 branches were operational and all but two were ready within the week. The organization’s nationwide client base of 200,000 depositors (50,000 of whom area also borrowers) had access to the cash they so desperately needed to survive.

As a trusted institution in the community and through tools such a mobile banking, microfinance is now able to play an even greater role in disaster recovery. So much so that Newsweek is now asking, “Could microcredit be the next Red Cross?”

For news coverage of Fonkoze’s remarkable response, visithttp://www.newsweek.com/id/233334.

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