follow the money
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 21, 2010 11:00 AM
Citi's commitment to boosting communities in need includes bringing microfinance lending to communities in need — even in developed countries.
It's been working with grassroots organizations including Fair Finance, a London-based social enterprise founded by Faisel Rahman, a former World Bank staffer. The goal of the partnership: support fair lending and financial services for local entrepreneurs and struggling individuals in the underserved community of East London.
Citi is helping Fair Finance provide financial literacy (funding a Money Matters education program) to its 2,500 struggling and marginalized customers, most of whom are unable to access mainstream credit from banks and building societies. Often, their only financial avenue is to loans is to agree to the exorbitant rates of loan sharks and predatory lenders, which frequently charge upwards of 200% APR.
Amazingly, 2.5 million Brits don't even have a bank account, Rahman tells Bob Annibale of Citi's community development and microfinance team in the video above. Fair Finance is also currently facing a challenge common to its target audience — eviction, as a Stepney council seeks to reclaim its office space.