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 $140 million in nine countries. From 2004 to 2012, we disbursed more than 450,000 loans to low- and moderate-income customers, totaling more than $1.1 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 local economies. Global Communities fills this gap by offering loans from $10,000 to $250,000 depending on the market, and also 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 deliver mortgage finance trainings to commercial banks in the West Bank through a grant from the International Finance Corporation. We also serve as the exclusive technical assistance provider on a Deutsche Bank fund for microfinance institutions implementing home improvement lending products.
We are also committed to going beyond finance to give back to our communities:
Vitas Group is a core element of the Global Communities strategy to have a long-term, positive role in our communities through development finance. As a commercial holding company, Vitas consolidates the assets of our locally-registered microfinance companies under one roof, which provides us greater access to commercial sources of funding, including debt and equity investments. The holding company structure also allows us to pursue large scale technical assistance grants that can be used across our network to improve the quality of our operations and build up our staff capacity through trainings and professional development opportunities. The combination of all these resources allows us to improve and expand our existing operations and to research new areas where we can expand to make a real and lasting difference.
Vitas Group has been active since 2011, when Global Communities (then CHF International) signed a landmark agreement with its first minority investor, BlueOrchard Private Equity Fund, for a 20 percent stake in the company. Vitas Group currently houses two subsidiaries—Vitas Romania and Vitas Lebanon—and aims to incorporate subsidiaries in Jordan, Iraq and the West Bank & Gaza over the next two years, and invest in at least one new institution over the next five years.View the Vitas Group website here.