The SPBD Microfinance Network achieved another impressive milestone today, surpassing US$ 200 million in “micro loans” disbursed to tens of thousands of hard working women entrepreneurs since its founding in 2000.
Loreta Umu, a retail shop operator who also cooks and sells barbeque in front of her shop in Savaii, Samoa, is the recipient of SPBD’s US$200 millionth loan. Loreta joined SPBD in 2012, and over the years her success enabled her to access SPBD’s larger Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) financing, and today she received her 3rdSME loan. With SPBD support, Loreta has also significantly improved her housing and living conditions.
Loretta recounts her journey. “I started out with selling fresh vegetables in front of our house, then sold homemade ice pops and barbeque before expanding my businesses to include my small shop. I would not have been able to achieve much without SPBD, because it’s very hard to get a loan from banks. I strongly believe that SPBD brought us up to where we are now. My family and I used to live in inadequate conditions, and to improve our living space I used my loan. So much has become possible with SPBD! The benefit has not only been in terms of finance but also things like savings, financial literacy, leadership and independence.”
SPBD has disbursed 264,000 small loans to hardworking, low-income entrepreneurs in the South Pacific, 99% of whom are women. SPBD operates in five countries – Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and employs a dedicated staff of 169 professionals. SPBD currently has 17 offices and offers 16 products and services, including credit, savings, death benefits, financial education and business skills training to its members.
In Tonga alone, SPBD has provided more than 60,000 loans worth US$ 56.3 million. SPBD Tonga employs 38 staff and operates four offices on Tongatapu, 'Eua, Ha'apai, and Vava'u.
General Manager Fine Tu'ipulotu is very excited with SPBD’s success to advance financial inclusion through microfinance to improve the lives of people. “I am so grateful that I am part of SPBD Microfinance in serving poor women of Tonga. I have witnessed the positive impact of our work over the past 12 years and have seen our members work hard to migrate their families out of poverty. I am thankful to our members for choosing us as their partner, in their journey to a better future for themselves and their families.” SPBD staff will continue to support members through these challenging COVID times, as it has since 2000.
Founder and President Greg Casagrande notes, “Since we launched SPBD in 2000, we have been on a journey to provide meaningful economic opportunity to underprivileged women micro-entrepreneurs. While it took us 10 years to disburse the first US$ 10 million, today SPBD disburses US$ 10 million worth of loans in less than five months – therefore our impact is also accelerating dramatically! I’m so pleased that we just surpassed US$ 200 million in loans disbursed.”
SPBD plans to expand and bring its successful microfinance products and services to deserving women across the South Pacific to support them to improve the standard of living for themselves and their families.
About SPBD Microfinance Network
SPBD’s mission is to improve the quality of life of underprivileged families by providing them meaningful economic opportunity to help lift them permanently out of poverty. SPBD is especially focused on empowering women to start, grow and maintain micro-businesses through the provision of access to financial and business development services as well as the opportunity to build assets, improve financial security and finance housing improvements and education.
SPBD’s vision is to create a network of financially self-sufficient and scalable micro-enterprise development organizations throughout the South Pacific.