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A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION International issued the first microloan in 1973 in Brazil. In the past 45 years, ACCION has transformed microfinance from a short-term charitable activity to a viable business with both social impact and financial sustainability.


To give people the tools they need to work their way out of poverty. By providing microloans, business training, and other financial services to poor women and men to start their own businesses, ACCION helps them work their way up the economic ladder with dignity.


ACCIONs goal is to have a significant impact on poverty by building self-sustainable microfinance institutions (MFIs) capable of reaching millions of poor microentrepreneurs. We do this by promoting commercial microfinance, providing our network of MFIs with a broad range of technical support. MFIs offer a full range of financial services to the poor: not just business credit, but savings accounts and housing construction and improvement loans, for example.

Our expert staff actively research and develop methodology, policy and technology to enable more effective and efficient financial services for microenterprise.


ACCION Internationals partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor women and men entrepreneurs in 22 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa, and in more than 30 U.S. cities and towns. Together, ACCION affiliated programs have disbursed $9.4 billion in microloans to more than 3.9 million borrowers. Ninety-seven percent of these loans have been repaid.


María Otero first joined ACCION in 1986 as director of its lending program in Honduras, where she lived for three years. She opened ACCION's office in Washington, DC in 1989 and in 2000 was named president & CEO. She is a leading voice on sustainable microfinance, and has published extensively on the subject, including as co-editor of The New World of Microfinance, published by KuMarían Press. She speaks throughout the world on microfinance and the use of market mechanisms to fight poverty.

In addition to her responsibilities as ACCION's CEO, Ms. Otero chairs the board of ACCION Investments in Microfinance, a US$50 million investment company for microfinance. Ms. Otero also serves on several other boards, including that of Banco Sol (Bolivia), the Calvert Foundation and BRAC Holding of Bangladesh, the largest NGO in the world, as well as the United States Institute of Peace. In 2007 she was named to the Advisory Councils of the Inter-American Foundation and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In addition, she was a founder of the Council of Microfinance Equity Funds (CMEF), which convenes 23 equity investment funds dedicated to microfinance to discuss their common challenges and interests. In June 2006, Ms. Otero was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as one of 25 members of the UN Advisors Group on Inclusive Financial Sectors.


Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela, Nigeria, Tanzania, United Republic of, India, Cameroon, China, Dominican Republic, Ghana, Panama, Philippines, United States


56 Roland Street
Suite 300
Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 625-7080
EIN: 13-2535763

A Gift Card


Expand Loans

Loan officer scooter

Loan officers are the men and women that go out and make loans to microentrepreneurs. With a motorscooter, a loan officer can visit and help more clients in a day than s/he can on foot, putting money into the hands of people who need it the most in urban and rural areas.


Buy Repair Equipment

Loan for a tiny business

Microentrepreneurs need equipment to enable their businesses to succeed. Whether it's a bicycle repair shop, a tire repair business, or a textile manufacturer, owners need to invest in machinery and tools to make their businesses run efficiently and grow.


Buy A Used Fridge

Loan for a tiny business

With a used refrigerator, a market vendor can store perishable items such as milk, cheese, meat or fish and preserve them for longer availability and plan for future sales. This will help create a sustainable and secure business for the borrower.


Buy Fruit in Bulk

Loan for a tiny business

With a loan of $75, a client could buy fruit and vegetables to sell in the market. Then the client can use the profits from her sales to expand her market stall, enroll in a financial literacy class, and help send her children to school.


Buy Bags of Rice

Loan for a tiny business

With a loan of $50, a client could buy bags of rice and cereal grains to sell in the market. Then the client can use the profits from selling the grains to buy more inventory, improve their home, and to hire an assistant.


Buy Laying Hens

Loan for a tiny business

With a loan of $25, a client could buy laying hens for eggs to sell in the market. Then the client can use the profits from selling the eggs to buy more chickens, invest in chicken cages, and feed her family.