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AIG and Accion launch global microfinance program

American International Group has announced a $5.25 million, three-year partnership with Accion International to improve access to financial services for those facing poverty in emerging markets.

The contribution from American International Group (AIG) will assist Accion in developing a range of new initiatives and products to improve the quality, impact and reach of microfinance around the globe. These innovations are expected to extend from remittances and savings products to micro-insurance and housing loans, to include a range of products that meet the financial services needs of poor entrepreneurs, such as seamstresses, market vendors, bakers and weavers who work their way out of poverty through microfinance.

AIG’s contribution will include support for the AIG Fund for Microfinance Innovation, run by Accion; backing for Accion financial literacy programs; and assistance with Accion’s exploratory program work in China.

AIG has been following the microfinance industry for more than a decade. The time is right for microfinance to move beyond credit to provide innovative products and services tailored to the needs of poor households, said Martin Sullivan, AIG president and CEO. AIG’s partnership with Accion will increase the microfinance industry’s capacity to reach scale, helping millions of the world’s working poor lift themselves out of poverty.

Microfinance has had a significant impact since its inception, with nearly 50 million people worldwide improving their lives through microcredit. However, it is estimated that nearly a billion could benefit from access to financial services.