A Christian microfinance initiative has reported 13 per cent growth in 2009, despite the global economic downturn.
Oikocredit - one of the world's largest private financiers of the microfinance sector - achieved record high inflows last year.
Its total assets grew by 13 per cent to a total of €537 million at year end.
Oikocredit's board of directors say they will propose to its members that the payment of a two per cent dividend its investors receive should be continued.
Tor G. Gull, Managing Director of Oikocredit said: “Another landmark was reaching €1 billion in cumulative committed loans and investments since Oikocredit began its operations in 1975.
"I am proud that despite the economic downturn, still large numbers of individuals and institutions invested in Oikocredit’s mission to empower poor people.”
Oikocredit pays a modest dividend to its members, who put their financial interests after the social benefit that their money can have.
Despite the recession, during 2009 large numbers of individuals and institutions invested in Oikocredit’s mission to empower poor people.
The close-knit network of regional offices and experts enables Oikocredit to work with partners who provide loans to people in the poorest areas, where both the risks and social returns can be high. Oikocredit’s aim is to also work in regions often avoided by other financial institutions.
Oikocredit is a co-operative financial institution which offers loans or investment capital to 790 microfinance institutions, cooperatives and small and medium sized enterprises in over 70 countries.
The project partners currently financially supported by Oikocredit currently reach out to a total of 17.5 million people.
Oikocredit is privately financed by individuals, organisations and churches.