Helping people to help themselves

Credit Suisse's pioneering microfinance programmes spreads financial sources

Microfinance, the provision of loans and other financial services to low income families and small business owners, is an effective way of helping people to help themselves. It makes an important contribution to fighting poverty and increasing financial inclusion around the world.

Credit Suisse has been engaged in microfinance for many years through the development of innovative solutions to link the top with the base of the income pyramid and enabling people to access financial sources.

Bayport Financial Services Botswana, Africa’s first smart-certified MFI, Botswana. Image: Credit Suisse

Some two billion people, more than a third of the world’s adult population, are financially excluded according to the World Bank. Access to capital is vital for economic activity as it enables people to afford education or healthcare, as well as build up and run their own businesses. In the field of microfinance and impact investing, Credit Suisse was the first major bank to leverage both its financing and management expertise by combining the bank’s corporate citizenship and core business. The growth and evolution of the microfinance industry is closely linked to the area of investment referred to impact investing.

Impact investing is about actively placing private capital in enterprises that generate a positive social and/or environmental impact alongside financial returns. Credit Suisse has been a leader and innovator in impact investing since 2002, when it co-founded social investment firm responsAbility Investments AG. One of the largest sectors of impact investing is microfinance. Since 2002, Credit Suisse, in partnership with responsAbility and other impact asset managers have offered has offered its clients the opportunity to invest in debt and equity investment products which provide microfinance institutions (MFIs) with the capital they need to offer financial services to people such as microentrepreneurs, who face difficulties in accessing credit to grow their businesses.

Manuel Rybach

Dr. Manuel Rybach is a managing director of Credit Suisse and serves as global head of public affairs and policy. In addition, he serves as head of corporate citizenship and international relations in the chairman's office and as managing director of the Credit Suisse Foundation. Previously, he was head of public policy APAC as well as chief of staff to the CEO APAC, based in Hong Kong, managed the Credit Suisse Research Institute and served as head of governmental affairs, based in Zurich. He has also been based in Singapore and Washington, DC, working on public policy issues. He started his career at Credit Suisse in the Economic Research department in Zurich, where he was a senior economist. Manuel is member of the United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Business Advisory Council (EBAC) Task Force on Banking and Finance, the World Economic Forum's (WEF) Global Future Council on the Humanitarian System and the WEF's Steering Committee on Promoting Global Financial Inclusion.