Global Communities is an innovator in providing locally appropriate financial solutions. We pioneered housing microfinance in the 1980s and have managed credit programs in the world’s most challenging environments since the 1990s. Every program that we undertake is designed to meet the needs of the local communities in which we work. As a result, we operate a range of models and offer a broad spectrum of products, representing a growing portfolio of more than $164 million in nine countries. From 2004 to 2013, Global Communities disbursed more than 530,000 loans to low- and moderate-income customers, totaling more than $1.3 billion, while maintaining an average repayment rate of 98 percent. Our three main areas of expertise are microfinance, small and medium enterprise (SME) finance, and housing finance.
Global Communities’ largest and fastest growing portfolio continues to be in microfinance. We operate the largest international network of microfinance institutions in the Middle East, with major operations in Iraq, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, and Jordan.
Small and medium enterprises are an engine of economic growth, but they are often unserved by traditional banking because the risk is considered too high, and they are often excluded from microfinance providers because their capital needs are too large. Yet they have huge potential to create jobs and contribute to lo cal economies. Global Communities fills this gap by offering loans from $10,000 to $250,000 depending on the market, and also by operating loan guarantee facilities in partnership with USAID and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Egypt and Jordan.
Global Communities continues to work in housing finance to find solutions for families previously excluded from the opportunity of home ownership. For example, we provide oversight and risk management services for a $150 million fixed-rate mortgage initiative in Jordan funded by OPIC and, in 2013, provided technical assistance trainings in housing microfinance for Lafarge in the Philippines and the French Agency for Development in Nigeria.
Vitas Group is a commercial holding company created by Global Communities to provide responsible micro, small and medium enterprise finance to populations that are underserved by traditional sources of capital. Vitas was founded on the belief that every client deserves a financial partner that is invested in their future. Vitas was created to leverage partnerships with likeminded investors to expand the reach of our development finance services and help thousands more people become full social and economic participants in their communities.
Vitas consolidates the assets of Global Communities’ locally registered microfinance companies under one roof, which gives us greater access to commercial sources of funding, including debt and equity investments, as well as technical assistance grants. These resources allow us to improve and expand our existing operations and to research new areas where we can make a real and lasting difference. Our first shareholder is Bamboo Finance Private Equity Fund, which holds a 20 percent stake in the Group. Vitas Group currently houses three Global Communities subsidiary companies – Vitas Romania, Vitas Lebanon and Vitas Jordan – and aims to incorporate at least two additional microfinance institutions in the next two years and establish new greenfield operations in the next five years.