November 11, 2008 09:00 ET

Lending Through Repaid at 98 Percent; Despite Economic Downturn, Kiva Lenders Continue to Invest for Social Return

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - November 11, 2008) - Loans made to entrepreneurs through have achieved a repayment rate of 98 percent, according to data released today by the micro-lending organization. Individual lenders continue to fund entrepreneurs in the developing world at a time when consumers are increasingly aware of the value of each dollar. -- the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website -- enables individuals to lend to developing world entrepreneurs. Loans made through have averaged a 0.7% default rate over the past 12 months, 4.03 percentage points lower than US Credit Card charge-off rates and 4.04 percentage points lower than US Credit Card default rates(1).

Despite the current credit crisis, which has prompted a cutback in loans, Kiva Lenders have never felt more inspired to lend to developing world entrepreneurs. "My recent loans to a Cambodian pig farmer, Azerbaijani clothing seller, Bolivian cheese maker, and others have been repaid in full," said Katie Pool, a Kiva Lender. "The only interest paid by Kiva borrowers is a better world. In today's financial climate those dividends make me feel like a millionaire."

This October, Kiva Lenders loaned a record $3.6M USD, the highest loan volume for any single month. Growth on in 2008 indicates that lenders are prepared to give throughout the economic downturn.

"People are looking for ways to contribute without making a significant impact on their pocket book," Premal Shah, President says. " lenders often choose to reinvest their initial $25 loan because they were able to witness the impact it made on an entrepreneur. Because investing in community is one of the most cost-effective ways to fight poverty, is seeing continued lending growth despite the tightening economy."

In the three years since its founding, has raised over $49M USD in loans made to more than 110,000 developing world entrepreneurs. The majority of loan recipients are women. On average, one loan was made on every 22 seconds, raising $1M USD every 10 days, from January to October 2008. During this same time period, a new user joined every three minutes on average, resulting in a 92 percent net increase of users in 2008. expects to achieve a cumulative portfolio total of $100 million by the end of 2009.

About ( is the world's first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to an entrepreneur in the developing world. Founded in 2005,'s mission is to connect people, through lending, to alleviate poverty. currently connects lenders in more than 100 countries with entrepreneurs in 41 developing countries, through 88 microfinance partners. is headquartered in San Francisco.

(1) Federal Reserve Board, 6/30/08

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