Expanding lending in the Middle East

We recently announced a new $5 million loan Global Communities and Vitas Group to expand microfinance and affordable housing in Gaza and the West Bank. Global Communities is an international non-profit organization that works closely with communities worldwide to bring about sustainable changes that improve the lives and livelihoods of the vulnerable.

Vitas Group, founded by Global Communities is a U.S.-based for-profit holding company that operates a network of microfinance companies, predominantly in the Middle East, aimed at improving long-term development impact on families, businesses, and communities through the provision of financial services. In 2007 we made a $1 million loan to Global Communities, and over the years have watched them grow their lending portfolio from $120 million to $260 million.

Over the years our relationship with Global Communities has grown. Renewing and increasing our investment in Global Communities allows us to explore new impact areas. This loan expands our traditional microfinance investing with a focus on international housing, which is a new impact area for us. Vitas Palestine provides micro and small loans for home improvement, business development, and residential land and apartment purchases. Currently, Vitas Palestine serves more than 9,500 clients and has an outstanding portfolio of $47 million.

Vitas Palestine performs extensive due diligence on all its clients, including checking them against Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and other government lists, to ensure all loans go to vulnerable families to improve their lives and not promote further conflict.