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Program Update: Opportunity Launching Microfinance Bank to Reach More Families in Colombia

By Diane Ferguson

In Colombia, Opportunity is creating a finance company that will offer loans, savings, insuranceand training to entrepreneurs living in poverty. Opportunity’s three Colombian-based microfinance institutions are being consolidated to form Opportunity Colombia. Opportunity is preparing to submit a banking license application to Colombia’s Financial Superintendency.

The consolidation will give nearly 20,000 families access to interest-bearing savings accounts. This will provide a critical safety net for clients and their families working their way out of poverty and will fuel economic growth in their communities as Opportunity recycles the savings capital into more loans for their neighbors.

Client Story Spotlight: Meet Rebeca Carvajal – Barranquilla, Colombia

Opportunity Colombia client Rebeca Carvajal, of Barranquilla, Colombia, has improved her fish-selling business through loans from Opportunity Colombia

Rebeca, like so many other Colombians, makes her living by selling fish. Although she worked hard, her social status as a woman and her lack of collateral contributed to her inability to access the capital she required to grow her businesses to sustainability and profitability.

After being introduced to Opportunity, Rebeca discovered that she could access credit, support and training to expand her fish and rice shop. After participating in business training, she recognized that she could increase her profit margin by transporting her fish to market herself to save on the exorbitant rates she was paying for transportation.

Rebeca strategically used her first loan from Opportunity to both diversify her product line and purchase a used car to make deliveries. She says that her income has already increased, allowing her to improve her children’s diet. Armed with the tools to succeed, Rebeca now dreams of opening a restaurant and sending her children to college.

Opportunity’s work in Colombia continues to grow. Check back in with the blog for more information about our clients and our expansion in Colombia.

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