SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kiva, an impact-first organization promoting greater financial inclusion worldwide, today announced that it will be launching the Kiva Refugee Investment Fund (“KRIF”) to accelerate and scale its lending to refugees, forcibly displaced persons and impacted host communities. KRIF will partner with institutional investors to provide larger sums of capital to be lent to refugees, with the goal of serving 200,000 borrowers while targeting impact-first returns for investors.
Kiva’s mission is to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. For refugees, this means going beyond immediate humanitarian aid and providing longer-term solutions for both refugees and their host communities. Refugees are often displaced for years, and even the well-educated or highly-skilled struggle to find work or secure financing to start a business, leaving them unable to build a livelihood or provide for their families. Meanwhile, host communities also struggle to support local refugees who are unable to support themselves.
So while immediate aid is critical, access to even small amounts of capital and other financial services is required for refugee communities to succeed and achieve long-term financial stability. However, most financial institutions are unwilling to lend to refugees due to concerns over flight risk, lack of credit history or collateral, higher costs of lending, and presumed higher rates of default, among other factors.
That is why since 2016, Kiva has been providing select local microfinance institutions (“Field Partners”) with risk-tolerant, impact-first capital at zero-interest through its Kiva.org crowdfunding platform to help catalyze lending to refugees, a population that has historically been underserved by banks and other financial institutions.
Reporting on its efforts, Kiva today released its second annual Refugee Impact Report stating that refugee borrowers financed by Kiva exhibit an average repayment rate of 95.5 percent compared with an average repayment rate of approximately 96.8 percent for the average global borrower. These results show the ability of refugees to repay loans at rates similar to those of non-refugee borrowers, challenging perceptions that refugees are an overly risky borrower population.
As a result of Kiva’s findings, Kiva believes its Field Partners and other financial institutions are now more willing to lend to refugees, with many actually seeking refugees as clients given their strong repayment rates. Over the past two years, Kiva has doubled the number of Field Partners it works with to provide loans to refugees. Through the Kiva.org crowdfunding platform, Kiva has funded almost $13 million in loans to nearly 16,000 refugees around the world, and anticipates lending over $7 million to refugees in 2019.
The launch of KRIF is expected to open up larger amounts of much needed capital to be lent to Field Partners to help scale their impact and reach more of the approximately 68 million people forcibly displaced worldwide.
“With Kiva’s strong track record of financing loans for refugees on the Kiva.org platform, we believe that lending to refugees is not only viable, but a compelling opportunity for impact investors,” said Lev Plaves, Senior Investment Manager for Refugees and Displaced Populations at Kiva. “The reality is that even small loans change lives. We’re deeply excited to be announcing the launch of the Kiva Refugee Investment Fund on World Refugee Day to accelerate and scale our lending to refugees, helping them build sustainable futures and become meaningful contributors to their host economies, and to society as a whole.”
KRIF will be Kiva’s first institutional investment opportunity available through Kiva Capital Management (“Kiva Capital”), an impact-first asset manager connecting Kiva’s network of Field Partners with institutional capital. Kiva Capital is expected to launch later this year as a subsidiary of Kiva, and limited to qualified investors. Kiva plans to develop other future investment vehicles in partnership with Field Partners and impact-driven institutional investors.
“Kiva’s history of crowdfunding zero-interest loans through the Kiva.org platform has enabled us to develop a deep understanding of the capital needs of underserved populations, as well as encourage our local Field Partners to provide loans to more than 3.2 million entrepreneurs and others in need around the world,” said Neville Crawley, CEO of Kiva. “The natural next step in Kiva’s evolution is to unlock larger sums of capital to be put to work through institutional impact investment. We’re excited to announce the launch of Kiva Capital later this year to help scale our impact and help underserved communities thrive.”
Kiva’s complete 2019 Refugee Impact Report can be found on Kiva’s newly launched refugee Impact Site (www.kiva.org/stories/refugees), which provides more information on Kiva’s work with refugees, including stories and profiles of individuals receiving loans financed through Kiva as well as information on the impact that those loans are having on the lives of global refugees and forcibly displaced persons around the world.
World Refugee Day Campaign to Raise $1 Million to Fund Loans to Refugees
Additionally, for the third consecutive year on World Refugee Day, Kiva is inspiring individuals to finance loans to refugees and displaced populations through its crowdfunding platform, Kiva.org, with the goal of raising $1 million in 26 hours.
All funds raised on Kiva.org from 10:00 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 19 through 11:59 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on June 20, 2019 will be matched by valued corporate and foundation partners, while funds last, doubling the impact of funds raised on the platform. Kiva partners matching funds raised through the Kiva.org platform on World Refugee Day 2019 include Automation for Jira, BlackRock, Docomo Digital, Lancashire Foundation, The Love Family Charitable Fund, The Miller Family Foundation, Pearson, Shapiro Foundation, The Tent Partnership for Refugees, USA for UNHCR, and others.
Join Kiva and its partners in creating lasting impact with a matched loan by visiting www.kiva.org/refugees.
Kiva is an international 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to expand financial access to help underserved communities thrive. Kiva was founded in San Francisco in 2005, and is comprised of three primary impact-first business lines: Kiva.org, Kiva Protocol and Kiva Capital Management. Kiva’s crowdfunding platform, Kiva.org, allows individuals to lend as little as $25 to make a difference in someone’s life. Kiva Protocol aims to establish financial identity and credit history for unbanked populations using distributed ledger technology (DLT), with its inaugural project currently being implemented in Sierra Leone. Kiva Capital Management is a forthcoming subsidiary of Kiva that will operate as an impact-first asset manager connecting Kiva’s network of Field Partners with institutional capital, scaling Kiva’s ability to lend to underserved populations around the world.