The Dignity Fund Provides $200,000 Debt Facility for Unitus Microfinance Institution Partner FIS

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Loan will help FIS to reach dramatically more poor clients

Unitus microfinance institution (MFI) partner FIS Empresa Social (FIS) of Buenos Aires, Argentina, recently closed on a $200,000 direct debt facility with The Dignity Fund. The innovative two-year loan arranged by Unitus and provided by The Dignity Fund has been structured in Argentine pesos with a very competitive interest rate of 13.5 percent. These funds will help fight poverty by increasing the number of microcredit-loan clients that can be served by FIS, a leading Argentine MFI which is currently lending to approximately 3,000 clients and has aggressive plans to expand to more than 55,000 clients by 2009.

“The professionalism of this group allowed our team in Argentina to focus on our goal—empowering thousands more poor micro-entrepreneurs to improve their own lives,” said Acting FIS CEO Julián Costábile. “We’re excited about the impact these funds will make in poor areas of Buenos Aires.”

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to help finance the growth of FIS,” said Dignity Fund Chairman and CEO Elizabeth Funk. “FIS is exactly the type of entrepreneurial institution that we aim to work with because of their mix of business acumen and emphasis on empowering the poor.”

The complex transaction was assisted by Chatham Financial, a leading global adviser for interest rate and foreign exchange transactions. Chatham’s expertise was especially useful as local currency loans from foreign lenders into Argentina are not commonplace.

“Unitus works closely with The Dignity Fund to deliver innovative financing solutions to our microfinance partners around the world,” said Unitus Vice President Capital Markets Kylie Charlton. “We look forward to collaborating with active players in the financial markets such as Chatham Financial to provide the financing our microfinance partners need for their continued growth.”

About The Dignity Fund (http://www.dignityfund.com):

The Dignity Fund aims to increase the number of poor households with access to credit, savings and other financial services by providing debt financing to promising microfinance institutions. The Dignity Fund believes that additional funding will enable microfinance institutions that are seeking capital for growth to reach more poor clients, allowing more entrepreneurs to lift themselves out of poverty with dignity.

About FIS (http://www.fis.com.ar):

FIS was founded in 1999 as the microfinance arm of El Ceibal, an Argentine non-governmental organization offering educational and community development programs in the rural northern province of Santiago del Estero. In 2003 FIS expanded its operations to the urban areas of the greater Buenos Aires region. In 2005 FIS became an independent microfinance institution and is currently one of the leading microfinance institutions in Argentina. FIS offers individual and group solidarity loans, as well as financial assistance for the purchase of solar panels. Focusing on the urban poor, about half of FIS’s clients are men. Unlike many MFIs, FIS is a for-profit institution, allowing the organization to receive foreign and domestic equity investments. FIS has achieved strong growth and is poised for expansion throughout Argentina.

About Unitus (http://www.unitus.com):

Unitus is a global microfinance accelerator that acts as a social venture capital investor for the microfinance industry. Unitus identifies the highest-potential microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries and helps accelerate their growth through capital investments and capacity-building consulting, thus empowering them to help exponentially more poor people worldwide. In doing so, Unitus aims to demonstrate that MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to local capital markets. As of March 2006, Unitus had eight MFI partners worldwide serving more than 600,000 poor clients. Based in Redmond, WA, USA, and Bangalore, India, Unitus relies on innovative financial instruments and the financial resources of like-minded individuals and foundations to fulfill its mission. Unitus received the Fast Company / Monitor Group Social Capitalist Award for taking an innovative, entrepreneurial, business-minded approach to alleviating global poverty.

About Chatham Financial (http://www.chathamfinancial.com):

Chatham Financial is an advisory firm with a commitment to bring transparency and pricing efficiency to capital markets. Chatham’s breadth of services includes interest rate and currency hedging, accounting, advisory for financial institutions, capital advisory services, valuations, documentation coordination and negotiation and web based reporting. With over 130 professionals in Pennsylvania, London, and Denver, Chatham executed $200 billion equivalent transactions on behalf of over 700 clients in the last 12 months. Our market presence in a wide variety of financing structures and transactions enables us to be fully aware of market and structural developments.

Media Contact:

Robert Lowry

PR Associate

Unitus

Ph: 425-881-2574

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UNITUS
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