GF Catalyzes $10 Million Transaction for CARD

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First privately placed note for poverty-focused microfinance institution in Southeast and East Asia

August 31, 2009 - Grameen Foundation today announced it has facilitated the first privately placed corporate note issued by the Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Inc. (CARD) of the Philippines. The $10.4 million transaction, which was supported by a $5 million guarantee from Grameen Foundation’s Growth Guarantee program and related advisory support, was oversubscribed by six local Filipino institutional investors: Security Bank Corporation, Allied Banking Corporation, Banco de Oro Unibank, Inc., BDO Leasing and Finance, Inc., BDO Private Bank, Inc., and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation. SB Capital Inc, the investment banking subsidiary of Security Bank Corporation, served as the lead arranger for the notes issuance.

The five-year note is the first ever to be issued by a microfinance institution (MFI) in Southeast and East Asia, and marks an important milestone in opening up broader capital markets to MFIs in the Philippines.

This is Grameen Foundation’s third and largest Growth Guarantee transaction with CARD and will provide it with long-term financing to expand its outreach by an additional 100,000 poor families. The first two transactions, totaling $5.3 million in bank financing, were partially secured by guarantees of $1 million each through the program.

“In the current economic climate, when banks and investors are generally more risk averse than they were previously, this transaction sends a strong message about investor confidence in quality MFIs such as CARD, as well as in the broader microfinance industry,” said Alex Counts, president of Grameen Foundation. “It also demonstrates how Grameen Foundation’s Growth Guarantees program is helping to guide MFIs through different stages of financial maturity and investment readiness.”

CARD is one of the first Grameen replication programs in the world and is the largest MFI in the Philippines. Formed in 1986, it targets primarily low-income landless rural women and serves over 435,740 clients throughout the Philippines. It is part of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions, a family of organizations which focus on providing financial and non-financial services to poor Filipino women.

“This transaction is a watershed moment for CARD, as well as for the microfinance sectors in Southeast and East Asia,” said Dr. Jaime Aristotle B. Alip, founder and managing director of CARD. “Previously, it was quite difficult to get banks to deal with us, but with the support of Grameen Foundation’s Growth Guarantees program, we have been able to deepen relationships and negotiate transactions which are more beneficial to the long-term success of our clients.”

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world’s poorest people access financial services and technology solutions by providing financing, technology support and management strategies to the local organizations that serve them. It also spearheads technology initiatives that create new microbusiness opportunities for the poor, provide telecommunications access for the world's rural poor, and improve their access to health and agriculture information and other services. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, D.C. and Seattle, Washington. Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, is a founding member of its board of directors and served on the board for 12 years. Since April 2009, he has served as Grameen Foundation’s first director emeritus. For more information, please visit www.grameenfoundation.org.

About CARD
Founded as a social development organization in December 1986, CARD has evolved into an outstanding microfinance institution (MFI) that is presently leading the microfinance industry in the Philippines. It is part of CARD Mutually Reinforcing Institutions (CARD MRI), a family of organizations which provide microfinance and microinsurance services. In a country with 4.7 million households (2006 estimate) living below the poverty line, as of June 2009, CARD MRI was serving 1,021,505 poor families and providing insurance to 4.3 million individuals. Since taking off with its Grameen-style microlending in 1989, CARD has spent considerable time in refining the methodology with the end in view of achieving the twin goals of outreach and sustainability. A major event in CARD’s history came in 1997 when CARD NGO obtained from the Central Bank of the Philippines the license to operate as a rural bank. In 2008, CARD received the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service. CARD was the first institution, rather than an individual to receive the award, which is widely considered to be the Nobel Prize of Asia. For more information, please visit www.cardbankph.com.

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