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OPIC Board Approves $45 Million To Support Housing Microfinance Lending by Habitat for Humanity

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 13, 2011) – The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) approved $45 million to enable Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) to expand its housing microfinance lending (HMF) — a growing impact investment sector that will help thousands of low-income families around the world build, improve, and maintain decent homes.

MicroBuild I (MBI), a subsidiary of Habitat for Humanity International, will use proceeds of the OPIC loan to lend to selected microfinance institutions around the world, which in turn will make housing microfinance loans to individual families for the purpose of home improvement. The program is designed to meet the housing needs of low-income families with little or no access to the formal banking sector or mortgage loans. MBI will mobilize funding at the lowest possible cost and select intermediaries committed to fair pricing and sustainability.

MBI is managed by Triple Jump, a Dutch investment management company established by the Dutch Oxfam affiliate to manage its investments in microfinance institutions (MFIs). Triple Jump is currently managing five funds with more than $400 million invested in 152 MFIs.

Habitat for Humanity International has made HMF a strategic focus and intends to use MBI as a vehicle to deliver decent housing to the world’s poor, in part by drawing other global investors into the sector.

“Housing microfinance lending stands to provide thousands of low-income families around the world with adequate housing. Unlike mortgage finance, housing microfinance enables families without access to the banking sector to improve their homes. This project, OPIC’s first in the sector, will demonstrate the viability, profitability, and impact of this market,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield.

“Habitat for Humanity relies on strategic collaborations to help us further our work around the world,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO, Habitat for Humanity International. “We are grateful to OPIC for this investment and we look forward to expanding our efforts with microfinance institutions so that together we can create even more opportunities for low-income families to live in decent housing.”

About OPIC
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical world challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance and support for private equity investment funds.

Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. In addition, OIPC has accomplished its developmental mission by supporting $200 billion worth of investment in nearly 4,000 projects in developing countries and emerging markets.

About Habitat for Humanity International
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than 2 million people. For more information, or to donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org.