On Friday, June 22, the Superintendency of Finance in Bogotá, Colombia, granted Opportunity International Colombia the final operational banking license it needs to be a deposit-taking and full service bank. Opportunity Colombia‘s CEO Enrique Ordonez and his staff began the process of applying for this license 18 months ago in January 2011, and through perseverance, financial support, and a lot of prayer, they have finally achieved this goal. Now the bank can take savings deposits and conduct formal banking activities in addition to the traditional Trust Group loans it previously offered. It will bring these much-needed financial services to many more unbanked Colombians–including those displaced by decades of violence–who struggle daily against the cycle of extreme poverty.
Upon receiving the news, Enrique Ordonez addressed a grateful message to Opportunity’s global staff, saying:
"After a long process and a lot of hard work from all the team in Colombia, today the Superintendency of Finance granted our final license, legally authorizing Opportunity to begin operations in Colombia as a regulated financial intermediary[...] The license is going to be a great help for the most needy people of Colombia. I’d also like to thank all our donors for their immense generosity and to assure them that we will not let them down in this new stage. This has been the result of a great team effort and I assure you that it will continue in the same way so we can reach more of the people in Colombia and help the rest of Opportunity’s operations in Latin America when needed. I believe Opportunity International will become very important in Colombia, attending to the most impoverished of the country. Thanks again for all your great help."
Opportunity International’s CEO Jon Yasuda remarked with thanks and praise: “Praise God for the opportunity to serve thousands of Colombian families with loans and savings products for many years to come. Congratulations to Opportunity Colombia’s CEO Enrique Ordonez and his team for securing the operational license and congratulations to the hundreds of Opportunity staff and donors and that helped this dream of ours become a reality.”
Congratulate Enrique and the entire Opportunity Colombia team in the comments below. If you’d like to show your support, you may fund the loan of a Colombian client on opportunity.org/clients »