Results tagged as "financial inclusion"

  • Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera: Building more financially inclusive cities for Mexican Immigrants

    By Ambassador Sandra Fuentes-Berain, Consul General of Mexico in New York March 28, 2016 02:00 PM

    Maria De Los Angeles Baez Rivera, a Mexican immigrant living in Queens, was in a very difficult place in October of 2014. Facing extreme financial hardship, she did not have a permanent home, and was constantly moving from place to place. She did not have a bank account, could not afford a mobile phone, and lacked the basic resources and stability necessary to obtain full-time employment.

    There are roughly 320,000 Mexican immigrants in New York City—a community roughly the size of Pittsburgh—many of whom are struggling with similar situations as Maria. In order to better understand the financial needs of this community, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) and Citi Community Development published the Immigrant Financial Services Study in April 2013. The study revealed that more than half of Mexican immigrants in New York City do not have a bank account because of perceived or structural obstacles to engaging with financial institutions—obstacles which are often rooted in language, cultural or informational barriers to trust.

    Mexican immigrants, like immigrants from many other countries, often have limited experiences with financial institutions in their new home. They worry about hidden fees, the security of their deposits or that authorities might take away their money. They are unfamiliar with tax benefits and are at times skeptical of programs that offer help.

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  • Empowering Women Entrepreneurs,
    From Dhaka to Queens

    By Andrea Jung, President and CEO, Grameen America March 11, 2016 02:45 PM

    Left to Right: Andrea Jung, President and CEO; Grameen America, Bob Annibale, Citi Community Development; and Professor Muhammad Yunus, Chairman & Founder of Grameen Bank and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

    Eight years ago, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus had a vision to bring his award-winning micro-lending model to the United States. As the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, Professor Yunus was internationally acclaimed for demonstrating that lending small amounts of money to underserved women would provide them with the economic opportunity they needed to start businesses and escape the grips of poverty.

    To get the program off the ground in the U.S., Grameen America approached Citi as a thought partner, tapping into the firm’s expertise and international experience in microfinance. In 2008, with Citi’s support, Grameen America opened its first branch in Jackson Heights, Queens.

    Grameen America alleviates poverty for low-income women by providing them with small-dollar loans to support the creation of micro-enterprises, working in groups of five. For our members – more than 90% of whom are self-employed minorities living in underserved neighborhoods – a critical element of building and safeguarding capital is access to high-quality banking products and services. In addition to receiving support from Citi for our operations, we work closely with the bank to provide our members with savings accounts for which fees are waived.

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  • Citi FinTech Meetup Miami: How Financial Technology Can Drive Financial Inclusion

    By Marshall Sitten, Vice President, Communications, Citi Community Development, Jorge Ruiz, Business Development and Digital Banking Head, Citi Latin America April 21, 2015 10:00 AM

    Technology can play a vital role in bringing more people into the financial mainstream. While most may think that’s a greater demand in the developing world, some of America’s largest cities struggle with the financial isolation of huge groups of their populations.

    We see one of the starkest domestic examples in Miami.

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  • A Plan to Increase Financial Access with New Technology

    By Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Community Development and Citi Microfinance October 01, 2014 02:17 PM

    Technology has increased access to education, healthcare, and instant communication. But it has yet to revolutionize access to financial services for low-income communities. Having adequate financial access not only impacts the economic potential of individuals, but also has an effect on the broader economy.
    Without access to appropriate tools and guidance, people face more difficulties when it comes to developing good credit, saving money, and building a secure financial future. Without such building blocks for economic growth, it is more challenging to buy a home, build a business, or send a child to college.

    This trend also allows costly and predatory alternative financial services, which target African Americans and Hispanics in particular, to thrive. That is why we need simple and responsible products that leverage technology to bring more people into the financial sector, and Citi Microfinance and Community Development are taking steps to change that.

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  • Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera Offers Financial Inclusion to NYC's Mexican Immigrant Community

    By Eileen Auld, Citi Community Development Regional Director for the New York Tri-State area July 08, 2014 04:50 PM

    New York City's rapidly-growing Mexican population has gained a unique resource as it strives for financial stability and inclusion in the American economy. Earlier this year I joined the Consul General of Mexico in New York and a host of other dignitaries at the opening of a new one-stop financial services center known as a Ventanilla de Asesoria Financiera, or Financial Counseling Window.

    The new 'Ventanilla' offers New York's Mexican community the opportunity to access free financial services through a trusted partner in a safe and convenient place. Created through collaboration between the Mexican Consulate, Citi Community Development and the New York City Office of Financial Empowerment, the center has its own space at the consulate, 27 E. 39th St.

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  • Financial Access Solutions for Israel's Unbanked Population

    By Bob Annibale, Head of Citi Microfinance and Community Development May 22, 2014 02:52 PM

    I recently made a trip to Israel to participate and lead the effort to develop a roadmap for financial inclusion for the unbanked. Citi and the Milken Institute Israel Center held a Financial Innovations Lab® along with over 50 key policy makers, regulators, and community and industry representatives. Also present were Citi Israel seniors and leading US experts in this field. As a group, we shared with our Israeli counterparts and government officials a range of information on data collection, analysis, and policies relating to financially under-served and low income communities in the US, as well as regulatory and financial services models and experiences relevant to the discussions in Israel.

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  • OPIC and Citi Strengthen Partnership for Development Financing

    By Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO and President, OPIC April 28, 2014 01:51 PM

    Last month, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation's (OPIC) Board of Directors approved two new framework agreements that further align our organization with Citi in sharing credit risk for development financing in overseas projects. OPIC has a history of successful partnerships with commercial lenders financing in emerging markets around the world. By putting OPIC's guarantee behind Citi's loans, borrowers in these markets will now have access to the financing they need to grow and contribute to local economies.

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  • Accion and Citi: Partnership in Building a Financially Inclusive World

    By Michael Schlein, President & CEO, Accion August 06, 2013 09:13 AM

    Many know that Citi has an extraordinary 200-year history that helped chart the course of modern financial services - but equally impactful is the nearly half-century commitment that Citi has demonstrated to expanding financial inclusion for some of the most vulnerable in our society - those living in poverty.

    Today, the Citi Foundation is the lead partner and founding sponsor of the Financial Inclusion 2020 initiative, an effort spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion. Using the year 2020 as a focal point for action, FI2020 aims to mobilize stakeholders around the world to work collaboratively towards full financial inclusion, which CFI defines as "a state in which everyone who can use them has access to a full suite of quality financial services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, with respect and dignity."

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  • Expanding Financial Inclusion: Microfinance & Carbon Credits

    By April Allderdice, CEO, MicroEnergy Credits April 30, 2013 04:18 PM

    Many of the world's poor lack not only financial resources but also adequate access to energy to power their homes and business places. The inefficient use of energy in under-served communities is also a contributor to climate change. But what if there were a way that lower-income communities could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also improving their financial and energy usage profiles?

    In Mongolia, many lower-income residents live in portable tent-like structures--called gers--that are traditionally under-insulated and heated by inefficient coal-burning stoves that contribute to the notorious air pollution in the country's urban centers. However, a simple household insulation product (a "ger blanket") can greatly increase heat retention and--together with more energy efficient stoves--lower the rate of costly fossil fuel consumption and harmful carbon emissions.

    The two issues are linked, since gers have to be paid for and the lack of financial resources slows their adoption. To help speed the widespread installation of more ger blankets while unlocking access to financial services for underserved Mongolians, Citi Microfinance worked with three partners: Citi's own London-based Environmental Products Trading & Origination team, the U.S.-based social enterprise MicroEnergy Credits, and Mongolia's XacBank.



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  • Vote for Your Favorite Small Business Through the Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards

    By Connie Evans, President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity and Irena Shiba, Microfinance and Enterprise Development Program Officer at the Citi Foundation April 15, 2013 05:50 PM

    Think about it: If one out of every three U.S. microbusinesses - the small, local businesses that are intricately woven into the fabric of our communities and our economy - hired a single worker, the United States could achieve full employment at a time when the country needs it most.

    Small businesses play an important role in increasing financial inclusion by creating livelihoods and employment opportunities; however, launching one involves overcoming many challenges. But entrepreneurship can have a powerful impact. That is why it is critical to help microbusinesses access capital and business-support services so they can grow, hire and build up their communities.

    When Main Street USA is strong, so is America.

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