We were pleasantly surprised to see an article about microcredit in America this morning in the New York Times. It highlighted the importance of serving small business owners in the U.S. with access to financing, especially in the form of microloans. Here at Accion, we applaud the participation of organizations in the microfinance field. For the last 20 years we have partnered with a variety of small business organizations, banks, and other microlenders to achieve our mission of providing capital to a community of borrowers who otherwise would not be able to access financial resources. Since Accion began lending in the U.S. in 1991, we have had the opportunity to make more than 47,700 loans, totaling over $380 million.
As Shaila Dewan points out, it’s difficult to get accurate data to assess the impact that the field has had on the businesses and broader economy. But, some studies offer optimistic insight—The Aspen Institute FIELD study she references looked at Accion’s portfolio across the U.S. and found that microloans create or sustain on average 5.6 jobs among businesses with employees, that 32% of borrowers report increases in income from business and that 54% of small businesses hire employees.
Microfinance works, and we applaud all organizations in the field and their efforts to allow entrepreneurs across the world, particularly here in the U.S. access capital to better their businesses and their lives.