ECOBANK and ACCION Launch Microfinance Operations in Ghana

ECOBANK and ACCION Launch Microfinance Operations in Ghana

ACCRA, Ghana, April 1, 2008– EB-ACCION Savings & Loans, a microfinance bank formed through a partnership between ACCION® International, a pioneer in microfinance program development, and ECOBANK, the leading pan-African bank, has received its license to begin microfinance operations in Ghana.

EB-ACCION will open its doors today, April 1st, delivering microcredit, savings and micro-insurance products to the Ghanaian market, thus helping small entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and improve their standard of living.  EB-ACCION clients will be served by two branches in Accra, located in the marketplace neighborhoods of Tudu and Lapaz.  Two more branches are scheduled to open in Accra this year.  EB-ACCION expects to be the market leader serving microentrepreneurs in Ghana by 2010.

In 2007, ACCION, in collaboration with ECOBANK and other foreign and local partners, launched one of the largest microfinance banks in Nigeria, ACCION Microfinance Bank (AMfB) Ltd.  The birth of EB-ACCION has further brightened the vision of both institutions to build a leading regional network of microfinance banks in Africa.

Arnold Ekpe, chief executive officer of the ECOBANK Group commented, “We are positive on Africa and we are committed to supporting African small businesses. With EB-ACCION, we intend to achieve not only a social investment but also a real commercial success.”

Carlos Castello, ACCION executive vice president and head of international operations, added, “We’re tremendously excited to be offering the fruits of this unique partnership, which combines ECOBANK’s strong local presence with ACCION’s international expertise in commercial microfinance.  We look forward to rapidly expanding EB-ACCION’s footprint throughout Africa, delivering key infrastructure to help build financial inclusion for the region’s entrepreneurial poor.

Incorporated in 1985, ECOBANK Transnational Incorporated (ETI) is the parent company of the largest independent regional banking group in Africa. The ECOBANK Group currently operates in 22 African countries, namely: Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Liberia, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In addition, ETI is listed on the stock exchanges in Lagos, Accra and Abidjan (BRVM). The Group has over 8,000 employees in over 450 branches. ECOBANK is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses, and individuals.

ACCION International is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty.  A world pioneer in microfinance, ACCION was founded in 1961 and issued its first micro-loan in 1973 in Brazil.  ACCION’s partner microfinance institutions today are providing loans as low as $100 to poor men and women entrepreneurs in 25 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and the United States.  In the last decade alone, ACCION partners have disbursed more than 17.9 million loans totaling more than $12.3 billion; 97 percent of the loans have been repaid.  Selected for the fifth consecutive year for its pioneering approaches to poverty alleviation, ACCION was among 45 organizations awarded the 2008 Social Capitalist Award by Fast Company Magazine/Monitor Group. ACCION has also been awarded Charity Navigator’s highest rating – four stars – for efficiency and sound fiscal management.

ACCION® is a registered trademark of ACCION International.

Media contacts:

Bruce MacDonald
VP, Communications
ACCION International
Tel: +1 617-616-1546

Group Communications
Ecobank Transnational Incorporated
2, Sylvanus Olympio Avenue
Lomé, Togo
Tel: 228 221 03 03

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