Opportunity International has announced a $1.3 million grant from Credit Suisse to expand deployment of cutting-edge technologies that will provide banking services to impoverished people around the world.
Opportunity's efforts include an electronic wallet strategy that utilizes technology to reduce banking transaction costs when making financial services such as savings accounts, small business loans, insurance, and training available to people living in poverty; the development of mobile phone banking solutions to support the electronic transfer of client deposits and withdrawals so clients don't have to leave their local communities; and the introduction of small, lightweight, and inexpensive netbooks to mobile banks that travel from village to village, providing financial services to people who cannot reach urban branches.
To ensure the successful deployment and management of these technologies, Opportunity also engages in staffing, training, and capacity-building initiatives and works to promote research and innovation in the microfinance sector.
"Thanks to the partnership with Credit Suisse, Opportunity will be able to help millions more gain access to the financial services they need to provide for their families," said April DuBois, vice president of international business development for Opportunity International. "We envision the day when all people will have the opportunity to safely deposit their savings, borrow capital for their businesses, receive training to develop business and life skills, and purchase insurance to protect their assets."