Queen Rania highlights power of microfinance, tours FINCA Jordan micro-businesses

February 25, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Amman) Bringing the expertise and finances of FINCA International, the world renowned microfinance bank, to Jordan, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah is hoping that the opportunities provided by FINCA will help provide a leg up for many Jordanian families.

Queen Rania, who announced the expansion of FINCA to Jordan during the launch of an international campaign last May,  made a surprise visit to eight FINCA Jordan microfinance clients who operate small businesses in Zeziya today.  She met with them to demonstrate her ongoing support for the power of microfinance to improve the lives of families in Jordan, and in other developing countries around the world.  FINCA Jordan’s program was officially launched November 18, 2007; the program has three branches located in Abdali, Hetteen, Zarka and, now, its first market office in Zeziya. 

“Microfinance helps unlock the productive capacities of millions around the world by giving them the means to turn a good idea into a job.  It’s especially effective for women, who make up the majority of the world’s poor,” said Queen Rania as she toured different micro businesses.

Queen Rania, who is a long-time supporter of microfinance and member of FINCA International’s Board of Directors, met a number of FINCA Jordan clients to highlight how access to a small amount of capital is helping people like Ne’mah Hamdan ALhmaiel Al-Jahran (Um Khaled) and her neighbors provide an improved lifestyle for their families, while helping uplift the entire community.

Ne’mah Hamdan Alhmaiel Al-Jahran (Um Khaled), a mother of seven, lives in the Al Talbiya Refugee Camp located in Zizeya with her husband. To help support her family, the 54-year old Um Khaled has long run a small agricultural business, focused on raising and selling goats.

She learned about FINCA Jordan soon after the program opened in the camp, and she quickly joined the Al-Nemaa (The Blessing) Village Bank group. Um Khaled took out her first FINCA loan of JD 300 (US$425) in early January 2008, and invested the proceeds in expanding her agricultural business by purchasing a number of young goats.

She said she is very pleased with her association with FINCA, and grateful for the organization’s support. She is confident FINCA loans will help her successfully build her business and boost her profits, enabling her to build a better future for her seven children.

FINCA Jordan’s microfinance programs put capital directly into the hands of low income entrepreneurs so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their families’ standard of living. “With repayment rates of over 98 percent, microfinance is a win-win proposition.  It’s not charity:  it’s a sound investment,” said the Queen. 

FINCA Jordan is the second program of FINCA International to open in the Greater Middle East region after FINCA Afghanistan. Executive Director Rupert Scofield said it has long been the desire of FINCA International to bring microfinance services to the GME region, focusing service provision on the segments of the population not reached by traditional microfinance service providers. He thanked Her Majesty for her ongoing dedication to helping FINCA achieve its mission.

“Her Majesty has been long been supportive of our efforts to reach out to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world,” Scofield said. “As we sought to secure funding for our FINCA Jordan program, Her Majesty encouraged us in our efforts.  We are honored that she could be with us today as we dedicate ourselves to providing the citizens of Zeziya with the products and services that will enable them to provide a more secure future for their families.”

Her Majesty was also joined by Edward Greenwood, FINCA Jordan Program Director, Samer Abu Dalu, FINCA Jordan Adbali Branch Manager and Mira Al-Khader, FINCA Jordan Zeziya Credit Officer.  Also joining Her Majesty was Betsy Ross, FINCA International Advisory Board Member and supporter of FINCA Jordan.

FINCA Jordan has grown rapidly during its first three months of operation, disbursing more than 2,000 microloans . Nearly all of the loans are Group Loans, with women accounting for 98 percent of all loan recipients, a strong indication that women are major contributors to their families’ well being in Jordan. The program will open its fifth branch in Der Ala'a region, where it will make financial services available to the more than 60,000 people who populate the 10 villages that make up the region

FINCA Jordan currently offers four core loan products: a woman’s group solidarity loan and three individual loans; micro loans, youth business start-up loans, and a SME collateralized loan. All individual loans are offered as either Commercial or Murahaba loans, so that clients can decide which lending methodology they prefer. Murahaba loans are based on Islamic principles of cost plus financing. FINCA Jordan plans to join many of the network’s other programs in offering credit/life, and permanent disability insurance products.

Her Majesty is a member of FINCA International’s Board of Directors, and co-chairs its multi-year Village Banking Call to Action Campaign, designed to serve 1 million clients by 2010 through 100,000 Village Banks in the Greater Middle East, Africa, Eurasia, Central Asia and Latin America. 

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FINCA International
FINCA is a leading international microfinance organization that provides financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs, helping them to create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living.  For more than twenty years, FINCA has been committed to breaking the cycle of poverty by providing community-based credit and savings opportunities. Currently, FINCA operates with a distinctive, integrated business model that accepts both donations and investment dollars, an approach that leverages available capital and promotes greater transparency, sustainability and higher standards of business practices.  This has allowed FINCA to achieve balanced financial and social performance unmatched in its industry while opening the path to socio-economic development for the lowest-income citizens of the world.  Based in Washington DC with local operations across 21 countries, serving more than 680,000 clients, FINCA's outreach is among the broadest and most comprehensive of today's microfinance networks.  For more information, please visit www.villagebanking.org.

Additional contacts
Diane Jones, Public Relations Manager
FINCA International
+1 202.352.6475