Grameen Foundation Selects MICRA to Join Bankers without Borders® Alliance

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Business Professionals Volunteer to Help Microfinance Institutions Improve Reach and Impact

September 21, 2011 - Grameen Foundation’s global volunteer initiative today announced that MICRA Philippines, the Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives (MICRA) Philippines Foundation, Inc., will become the fifth member of the Bankers without Borders® (BwB) Alliance and receive funding and volunteer support to expand their services for the microfinance sector in the Philippines. The BwB Alliance, which includes local microfinance associations and institutions in Peru, Colombia, India, and the United States, helps microfinance and technology-for-development (T4D) organizations better manage their rapid growth and improve their reach, impact and sustainability by engaging skills-based volunteers to provide onsite and remote technical assistance, training, and consulting. The BwB Alliance Program is made possible with support from BwB’s global sponsor J.P. Morgan.

MICRA Philippines will receive seed capital technical assistance and operational support from BwB to help increase their network’s capacity to utilize volunteers. The grant will be used to support a series of volunteer consulting engagements with six microfinance institutions within their Southeast Asian network: MICRA Philippines, Metro Ormoc Community Credit Cooperative, Inc. (OCCCI), Bangko Kabayan, RBT Bank, Kooperatiba ng Sambayanan ng Banal na Krus (KS Bank), and Paglaum Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PMPC).

Members of the BwB Alliance currently include Promuc of Peru, Contactar of Colombia, Access Development Services of India, Association for Enterprise Opportunity of the United States, and Grameen-Jameel in the Middle East and North Africa. The foundation will announce additional Alliance member organizations later this fall.

While there are no additional funds for seed grants at this time, Bankers without Borders continues to seek out other networks who are interested in joining the Alliance and leveraging its assistance in more effectively engaging Bankers without Borders’ skilled volunteers and the employees of their existing corporate partners. “We are delighted to work with MICRA Philippines to further leverage the valuable insights that business professionals from the financial services industry and a myriad of professional backgrounds can bring to the operations of microfinance institutions through skills-based volunteer engagements,” said Shannon Maynard, Director of Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders. “MICRA Philippines was selected because they have a strong history of working with volunteers and share in our vision for the growing role that skilled volunteers can play in optimizing the financial and social impact of microfinance.”

MICRA Philippines was founded by Mercy Corps in 2006 as an Indonesian foundation focused on the development of the microfinance industry and has since expanded to the Philippines in 2008. Their mission is to build the institutional strength and outreach of the microfinance sector in the Philippines by providing a range of high quality, best practice, technical inputs and support to all industry stakeholders, through a sustainable and demand-driven model. MICRA Philippines is committed to promoting innovation, transparency, increased outreach, and enhancing performance in the industry.

“Through the Bankers without Borders, MICRA Philippines works with microfinance institutions in creating models in engaging volunteers in the areas of business management, information technology, IT and Technology support, risk and delinquency management, human resources management, leadership development (branch and supervisory training) and specialized areas like microinsurance, branchless banking, renewable energy, women and youth, micro agri, micro housing, micro franchising among other areas”, said Al B. Isles, Senior Project Manager at MICRA Philippines.

Since its inception in 2008, Bankers without Borders has pioneered the use of skilled volunteers in the microfinance and technology-for-development industries and has cultivated a volunteer corps of more than 7,000 highly-skilled professionals from a variety of backgrounds. Bankers without Borders strategically connects volunteers to various microfinance and technology-for-development projects to eradicate global poverty. For more information, visit www.bankerswithoutborders.com.

About Grameen Foundation
Grameen Foundation, a global nonprofit organization, helps the world's poorest people lift themselves out of poverty 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 and improve the poor's access to health, agricultural and financial information and other services. Founded in 1997, Grameen Foundation has offices in Washington, DC; Seattle, WA; Colombia; Ghana; Hong Kong; the Philippines; and Uganda. Microfinance pioneer Dr. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank and winner of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize, is a founding member of its Board of Directors, and now serves as director emeritus. For more information, please visit grameenfoundation.org.

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