Where We Work Serbia
Get facts about poverty in Serbia and how microfinancing empowers its people to work their way out of poverty and build a safety net for the future.
The breakup of the former Yugoslavia and, more recently, the global economic crisis, has left many economic challenges and a large section of the population unemployed, struggling to rebuild their lives. Forty-four percent of the population lives in rural areas, of which almost half earn their living in agricultural activities characterized by small-sized farms and mixed incomes. Forty-eight percent of the rural population lack access to loans.
Through the support of a USAID grant, Opportunity Serbia began in 2002 as a savings bank and was converted into a full-service bank in 2007. Opportunity Serbia is a small, regulated community bank perfectly suited for providing much-needed finance to entrepreneurs and small agricultural households.
Commitment to Underserved Communities: Nearly 45 percent of Opportunity Serbia’s loan assets support Central and South Serbia’s underdeveloped regions. This focus stands in stark contrast to Serbia’s mainstream banking sector, which dedicates only about 10 percent of assets to these areas. Most Serbian banks focus on clients in densely populated, urban areas.
Sustainability: Since its inception, Opportunity Serbia has disbursed more than 40,000 loans. The staff of 200 serves clients through 21 branch offices located throughout the country. Unlike other small banks in Serbia, OBS has achieved operational sustainability.
Job Creation: Opportunity Serbia is committed to supporting clients with microfinance products, services and training to assist in job creation. Since its inception, loans disbursed to businesses and farmers have created more than 8,000 new jobs in Serbia and helped sustain close to 80,000 existing jobs.
Additional Services Offered
- Business loans: agro, Trust Group, Solidarity Group, individual and SME (small/ medium enterprise)
- Retail loans: cash loans for the employed and pensioners
- Money transfers
- Savings: individual, agro, rural and term deposit accounts