The Microfinance CEO Working Group is pleased to announce their new Co-Chair, Scott Brown, President and CEO of VisionFund International. Brown is a founding member of the Working Group and joins current Co-Chair Lauren Hendricks, Executive Director of CARE’s Access Africa program. The two will lead the Working Group’s continued efforts to promote the full financial inclusion of more than 2 billion people around the world without access to formal financial services.
Scott Brown was among an informal group of leaders who first came together in 2011 to discuss the state of the microfinance sector. Today, the Microfinance CEO Working Group is a collaborative effort by ten international organizations to reach the most financially underserved communities, including low-income women, the rural poor, and those living at the very bottom of the economic pyramid. The Working Group member organizations collectively reach 71 million active clients via 251 microfinance institutions in 73 countries, and nearly 6 million clients via savings groups in 49 countries around the world. Together, the ten member organizations committed to opening a total of 70 million new accounts around the world by 2020.
“I welcome a partnership with Scott to lead the Microfinance CEO Working Group as the financial inclusion industry advances in the promising age of digital financial services,” said Lauren Hendricks. “We have a duty as microfinance leaders to ensure that financial services continue to reach the most underserved communities and vulnerable clients are included in that evolution.”
Brown joined VisionFund in 2006 after nearly two decades in the banking sector, including serving as vice president at the Royal Bank of Canada. For over ten years, VisionFund has been improving the lives of children in the developing world by offering small loans and other financial services to families living in poverty. The organization’s clients are able to develop successful businesses which enable them to ensure their children grow up healthy and educated. Working on behalf of World Vision in nearly 35 countries, VisionFund’s microfinance institutions are found across the globe in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
“As the networks that comprise our Working Group continue to provide essential services such as loans, savings, insurance and remittances we are also rigorously pursuing ways to use technology to reach more clients with better financial services,” said Scott Brown. “I look forward to leading our continued collaboration with researchers, practitioners and policymakers to support and develop these new services that give poor people the opportunity to plan for their future.”
Hendricks and Brown are joined by fellow Microfinance CEO Working Group members: Shameran Abed, Director of BRAC’s microfinance program; Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion; Rupert Scofield, President of FINCA International; Kathleen Stack, Interim President of Freedom from Hunger; Steve Hollingworth, President and CEO of Grameen Foundation; David Simms, Global Chief Development Officer and President, Opportunity International, U.S.; Maria Cavalcanti, President and CEO of Pro Mujer; and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking.
The Microfinance CEO Working Group is a collaborative effort by leaders from ten international organizations: Accion, BRAC, CARE, FINCA International, Freedom from Hunger, Grameen Foundation, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, VisionFund International and Women’s World Banking. The Working Group seeks to support the microfinance industry in bringing a broad range of financial and related services to those who have traditionally been excluded. The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion serves as the secretariat for the Working Group.