The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has teamed with Habitat for Humanity International to help microfinance institutions (MFIs) deliver housing loans to low-income families in rural and peri-urban areas of India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
The collaboration will expand ADB’s microfinance risk participation and guarantee programme to include microloans for housing, home improvement, and water and sanitation for vulnerable and climate change-exposed communities.
An expected 20,000 households will receive housing microloans from partner MFIs in the programme’s first phase to enhance construction quality and climate resilience, including upgrading semi-permanent structures and installing sanitation and water connections.
ADB also aims to encourage private sector financing through risk-allocation and guarantees. The collaboration will help to empower women, with 90 per cent of financing targeted for women micro-borrowers.
ADB will help MFIs obtain financing for these purposes from commercial banks of up to 30 million dollars in the first phase. Habitat for Humanity will build the MFIs’ capacity to design, pilot-test and roll out the loans with technical assistance from ADB.
“Low-income families find it difficult to build resilient houses as they lack adequate and affordable financing options due to the collateral requirements of commercial banks,” said ADB Private Sector Financial Institutions Division Director Christine Engstrom.
“MFIs have the networks to reach these communities, but often lack the technical capacities to deliver housing microloans to them. Building on Habitat for Humanity’s technical and training expertise, this inaugural partnership will enable ADB’s Microfinance Programme to better address this market gap.”
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Operating Officer Patrick Canagasingham said the demand for urban housing in Asia remains largely unmet, giving the private sector a critical opportunity to deliver affordable materials, construction quality, access to energy, gender equity, water supply, and sanitation services, while supporting greater gender equity.
“With ADB, we will create enabling environments for MFIs through risk-sharing and capacity building, helping unlock local private sector capital for housing.”
Habitat for Humanity began in 1976 and has grown into a leading global non-profit, working in more than 70 countries. From July 2019 to June 2020, Habitat helped more than 1.9 million people in Asia and the Pacific gain access to better housing.
ADB’s Microfinance Programme has helped more than six million borrowers gain access to microloans.