ACCION USA provides affordable microloans to low-
and moderate-income entrepreneurs who are unable
to access traditional bank credit for their businesses
U.S. Microfinance Factsheet
Long hailed as an effective poverty alleviation strategy abroad, microfinance also has strong roots in
the United States. The U.S. ACCION Network was established in New York in 1991 and has since lent
over $250 million to financially underserved entrepreneurs, primarily minorities and women.
An Undeniable Need for Microfinance1
Access to Credit: Microfinance bridges the ever-widening credit gap, and is especially important
in today’s economy.
40 million households (106 million people) have limited access to mainstream financial institutions. 2
28 million people in the U.S. are entirely unbanked 2
Even prior to the credit crisis, an estimated 10 million microbusinesses faced difficulty obtaining capital
from traditional sources
Employment: Microenterprises (<5 employees) account for over 87% of employment in the U.S.,
and over 89% in New York State. 1
Microbusinesses created over 4.5 million jobs from 2002-2005 1
Home-based businesses account for 53% of all small businesses 1
There are more than 21 million micro-business (< 5 employees) owners in the U.S. 3
GDP Contribution: Microbusinesses contributed over $4 trillion to GDP in 2007 4
From 1998 – 2006, small businesses produced half of private non-farm GDP in the U.S.
20% of Small Business GDP is attributable to single employee firms 5
40% of Small Business GDP is attributable to firms employing two to four people 5
Alternative to Predatory Lenders: The predatory loan industry is very large and growing rapidly.
2008 annual loan volume grew to more than $42 billion from $28 billion in 2006 6
Average annual interest rates are 300 to 400%
Fees generally range from $15 to $30 for every $100 borrowed 7
Predatory lenders do not report to rating agencies; they do not establish a credit history
Economic Stimulus: AUSA plays an important role in helping small businesses survive and
rebuild our economy through income growth and job creation.
Small businesses create 75% of the net new jobs in our economy
37% of small businesses see growth opportunities in the next six months, with 28% planning to hire 8
ACCION USA Impact
AUSA loans create employment opportunities in low- to moderate-income communities:
On average, each AUSA small business loan recipient creates 2 new jobs. 9
Since inception, AUSA loans have created approximately 11,500 new jobs.
AUSA loans increase family income:
61% of AUSA clients report an increase in annual income after receiving a loan, with a median increase
of over $4,500 (or 18%). 9
AUSA loans create sustainable businesses:
The business survival rate among AUSA clients is 97% for established businesses and 90% of start-up
AUSA loans increase the local communities economic base:
AUSA loans generate increased tax revenue and economic activity. 10
Total Economic Activity from Direct Lending (Est) $216.1 million
Additional Earnings (Est) $68.6 million
State and local tax revenue (Est) $12.5 million
AUSA borrowers reported they 9:
Increased sales 64% Acquired checking or savings accounts 34%
Increased savings 37% Established a credit history for the first time 23%
Current Quick Facts
ACCION USA (AUSA) is a non-profit microfinance organization that provides affordable microloans to
low- and moderate-income (LMI) microentrepreneurs, primarily minorities and women, who are unable
to access conventional bank credit.
AUSA has lent $115 million since 1991, making us one of the nation’s largest microlenders serving more
than 3,000 active borrowers across 40 states.
AUSA Portfolio (1st Qtr 2009): AUSA Demographics:
Loans made to-date $116 million 61% Hispanic/Latino(a)
Borrowers since 1991 Approx. 18,600 15% African/African American
Active portfolio $18 million 40% Female
Average loan size $6,300
Interest rate 8 – 15%
Historical repayment rate over 90%
Portfolio At Risk 13.7%
AUSA has achieved 99% operational self-sufficiency and 54% of total program recovery cost. 9
The U.S. ACCION Network has supported 36,900 U.S. small businesses, lending $250 million; our
Network footprint is nationwide with an online lending platform and licensees serving the TX, LA, NM, CO, AZ,
IL, and CA markets.
Unless otherwise noted, The Small Business Administration (2006)
The Center for Financial Services Innovation Underbanked Consumer Study 2008
Association for Enterprise Opportunity
The Small Business Share of GDP, by Katherine Kobe of Economic Consulting Services, LLC
Board of Governors, 2007 (Speech by Ben Bernanke, Microfinance in the U.S. Nov. 6, 2007)
Consumer Federation of America
The Center for Financial Services Innovation
Amex Small Business Monitor survey
Microtest Program Report, FY2007 Performance
Operational self-sufficiency is defined as total financial income (interest and fees on loan and interest on unused
loan funds) divided by credit program operating costs for the fiscal year.
Total program recovery cost is organization’s capacity to pay overall expenses (including training and
education) with revenue generated by program operations and/or management of program financial resources
Estimates base on direct lending and total economic activity using ATX Impact Study methodology
Adjusting the International Microfinance Model
Like its international counterpart, domestic microfinance seeks to empower self-employed individuals through
affordable and accessible business capital. However, there are several important differences between
microfinance in the United States and internationally. These include:
Loans tailored to meet U.S. borrowers’ needs. AUSA provides loan amounts tailored to meet borrowers’
needs in a formal economy. Our loans range from $500 “Credit Start” loans to $50,000 loans for advanced
businesses. While the average microloan in developing countries is less than $1,000, AUSA's average loan
size is $6,300. In the United States, higher costs of doing business necessitate larger loan sizes.
A focus on financial literacy. Realizing that it takes both knowledge and capital to build a business, AUSA
provides borrowers with free business and credit training.
One-on-one strategies. AUSA’s loan consultants work one-on-one with borrowers throughout the loan
process to help them achieve their financial and business goals. AUSA believes the individual-lending model
is better suited to U.S. borrowers because it prepares them to enter the mainstream U.S. credit system.
Broader scope of services to meet borrowers’ needs. Several factors have driven the U.S. microfinance
industry to diversify beyond simply lending, including the complexity of the U.S. market and broad regulatory
Underwriting standards. Some microlenders do not require credit checks, collateral, or other financial
measures. Because AUSA helps borrowers build credit by reporting repayment to the major credit reporting
bureaus, it is critical that we ensure our borrowers' ability to repay through these measures. Not doing so
would jeopardize their credit and financial future.