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

Friday, July 01, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – 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.”