News Frequently Asked Questions
What is Opportunity International’s vision?
Our vision is a world in which all people have the opportunity to achieve a life free from poverty, with dignity and purpose.
How is Opportunity International funded?
Opportunity International receives charitable contributions and government grants that are sent to our local microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the form of grants, loans and equity investments. A portion of these funds goes toward fundraising, along with general and administrative expenses.
We also raise equity and debt from third parties, which we invest directly in our MFIs.
What does Opportunity International do?
Opportunity International is a microfinance organization that provides small business loans, banking, insurance and training to 9.6 million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world.
Clients in 22 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their communities and build a safety net for the future.
How can I make a donation?
You can donate online or by cheque (made payable to Opportunity International UK) or money order or by debit or credit card over the phone. Please call 01865 725304 (Mon – Fri, 9am – 5pm).
Please complete a Donation Form and send to: Opportunity International UK, Angel Court, 81 St Clements, Oxford, OX4 1AW
What is Opportunity International’s motivation?
We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender. Learn more.
What is Opportunity International’s calling as a Christian organization?
We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to love and serve the poor. We seek to emulate the Good Samaritan, whose compassion crossed ethnic groups and religions. We serve all people regardless of race, faith, ethnicity and gender.
What is microfinance?
Why are 95% of your clients women?
We invest in women because women reinvest their earnings into their families and communities despite unique obstacles such as forced labor, gender violence and legal/cultural inequities.
Entrepreneurial success helps them provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future.
What is a Trust Group?
Trust Groups help entrepreneurs break free from the limitations of poverty by promoting solidarity and accountability.
They consist of 10-30 entrepreneurs, mostly women, who meet once a week to receive financial training, share personal and business advice, and vote on loan-related topics.
What interest rate do you charge for loans?
Interest rates vary by country depending on the local economy and cost of borrowing, political stability, inflation rate, product, size of loan and payment terms. The interest covers the cost of delivering the loan and related products and services including savings accounts, insurance and training. Interest on short-term, group loans typically ranges from 2 to 5 percent per month and 1 to 3 percent per month on individual loans using flat or declining balance calculations. The gross portfolio yield in 2012 was 38.7 percent (a fair approximation of the aggregate global rate). Above all, we remain committed to continuously improving the value of services to our clients and to lowering interest costs over time while ensuring that our price structure reflects our goal of maintaining financial viability and ensuring loans can be repaid and recycled again and again.
How do your interest rates compare to market norms?
Our interest rates are comparable to or lower on a risk/reward adjusted basis to what other organizations charge on typical microfinance loans in emerging markets. Because of the vast differences in transaction costs and sizes of microfinance loans from market to market, it is inappropriate to compare them to conventional loans. As noted by The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), “Administrative costs are inevitably higher for tiny microlending than for normal bank lending. For instance, lending $100,000 in 1,000 loans of $100 each will obviously require a lot more in staff salaries than making a single loan of $100,000.” Local money lenders typically charge interest rates that are 3 to 10 times what Opportunity International charges. According to one study, “The median informal rate charged by informal money lenders was 10 to 25 percent per month. Rates of 5 to 20 percent per day were reported in five countries.”
Does Opportunity International offer training in business practices?
We teach entrepreneurs basic skills related to earning, spending, budgeting, wise borrowing and saving. We also provide curricula for loan officers to follow when working closely with Trust Groups. We teach clients on a larger scale through financial education DVDs.
How do entrepreneurs become Opportunity International loan clients?
Opportunity International conducts interviews with prospective clients to get a better understanding of their situation, so we can construct a loan that’s tailored to their needs and capabilities.
Are interest rates fair and affordable to clients?
Our rates are competitive and considered fair and reasonable by the people we serve. The short-term nature of group loans in particular means that the actual amount of weekly interest paid on a loan relative to principle is less than one dollar per $100 borrowed. Based on 47,150 client tracking surveys, 4 out of 5 clients said Opportunity International charges fair interest and fees.
What are Opportunity International's methods?
We support local microfinance organizations that provide innovative financial solutions to empower people, create jobs and build vibrant communities.
- Our products, services and training enable clients to develop businesses, to save and to insure against an uncertain future.
- We strengthen and influence value chains to benefit our clients, connect them to viable markets and drive economic progress.
- We create innovative partnerships to provide complementary services to our clients.
- We seek to impact the lives of our clients, staff and supporters.
What are Opportunity International's Values?
Commitment to our clients and their transformation.
Humility a spirit of serving in all we do.
Respect 360 degrees of consideration and teamwork.
Integrity living our values with transparency and consistency.
Stewardship accountability, innovation and urgency.
Transformation our ultimate goal in ourselves and others.
What is Opportunity International’s mission?
By providing financial solutions and training, we empower people living in poverty to transform their lives, their children’s futures and their communities.