Monday, May 23rd

Please click on the session title to expand and see full session descriptions.

8:00 am - 9:30 am

Registration  -  Metropolitan Lobby

9:30 am - 10:15 am

Opening & Welcome  -  The North Pavilion

10:15 am - 11:45 am

Savings: The Future of Microfinance  -  The North Pavilion

If 2005 was the United Nation’s International Year of Microcredit, then perhaps 2012 will be the International Year of Microsavings. As the microfinance industry seeks to expand access to financial services in order to reduce poverty, more and more evidence points to microsavings as the intervention that yields the desired results. This plenary session brings together the world’s foremost experts on microsavings, representing the research, investment, and products that drive today’s rise in microsavings deposits by the world’s poor, including here in the United States. We will hear what early research indicates on the promise and potential of microsavings, as well as why some of the industry’s oldest champions and most influential funders are focusing their investment and philanthropic strategies on microsavings initiatives.

Robert A. Annibale, Citi Microfinance and Community Development
Dean Karlan, Yale University
Lisa Mensah, The Aspen Institute, Initiative on Financial Security
Stephen Rasmussen, World Bank
11:45 am - 12:00 pm

General Plenary Closing Remarks  -  The North Pavilion

Giovanni di Placido, BBVA Microfinance Foundation
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Lunch  -  The South Pavilion

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Microentrepreneur Tour  -  Offsite Event


Pre-registration required. Hop on a bus and visit microfinance borrowers at their places of business throughout the New York City area. Hear from entrepreneurs themselves about the challenges of securing business financing, the passion behind their start-ups, and their growth plans for the future. Visit cafes, beauty salons, clothing stores, and more! Boxed lunch will be provided. Client Visits courtesy of ACCION USA.

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Financial Diaries: New Focus on the U.S. from the Authors of Portfolios of the Poor  -  Session Room: Manhattan

Join authors Jonathan Morduch and Daryl Collins for a thrilling overview and journey into the financial lives of the poor, as documented in their groundbreaking work, “Portfolios of the Poor.” Hear what Murdoch and Collins discovered through their intensive qualitative research about the financial habits and motivations of some of the world’s poorest communities – as well as how these “financial diaries” have changed the attitudes and strategic direction of many of the world’s leading microfinance thinkers and investors. In addition, Morduch and Collins will offer a preview of exciting new research underway to document the financial lives of the poor in the United Stated using the “financial diaries” methodology. A seminal work in the microfinance field, don’t miss this chance to learn from the architects of the “Portfolios of the Poor” firsthand and engage in a question and answer session with the authors. 

Level: Open

Daryl Collins, Bankable Frontiers
Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner School, New York University
Rachel Schneider, CFSI

Scaling the Microfinance Industry in the U.S.: ACCION Texas-Louisiana Offers its Tools for Growth  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

ACCION Texas-Louisiana is the largest business microlender in the U.S. and that growth is largely due to its innovative lending platform. Since 2008, ACCION Texas-Louisiana has offered a web-based software -- Microloan Management Systems (MMS) -- including online application and automatic prequalification process to microlenders across the country who want to grow their loan portfolios while improving loan quality and reducing costs. Learn how standardizing the loan approval process with MMS leads to a dramatic reduction in response time, improved customer service, improved loan quality, and reduced costs while increasing overall program outcomes. ACCION Texas-Louisiana has a 17-year track record and more than $25 million in loans under management. 

Level: Advanced

Leslie Hoffman, ACCION New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado
Catherine Meyrat, ACCION Texas-Louisiana

Achieving Household Financial Security: The Critical Role CDFIs Are Playing  -  Session Room: Queens

Given the current economic climate, it is more critical than ever to understand what is needed to help families build assets and financial security.  There must be a clear understanding of the many factors which contribute to either building up or eroding the financial security of households, and how these factors are related to each other. Reducing poverty and achieving financial security is a dynamic process in which households iteratively gain skills, increase income, begin to save, leverage those savings into assets, and protect the gains made along the way. Increasingly, CDFIs are playing an important role in this process.  This panel will explore how leading CDFIs and public/private partnerships are addressing critical needs in developing financial security, identified by CFED in its new Household Financial Security Framework.  

Level: Open

Gwendy Donaker Brown, Opportunity Fund
Ida Rademacher, CFED
Laura Sparks, Citi Community Development
Steve Zuckerman, Self-Help

Responsible Microfinance through Transparent Pricing  -  Session Room: Bronx

In July of 2008, Businessweek published an article on Standards for Microfinance, reporting, “If the [microfinance] industry doesn’t curtail abuses and confusion, it faces the prospect of government crackdowns and donor funds drying up.” Such crackdowns have occurred through the No Pay Movement in Nicaragua in 2009 and most recently with the 2010 crisis in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. MFTransparency was established to promote the integrity of the microfinance industry, serving as a venue for the industry to publicly demonstrate its commitment to pricing transparency, integrity, and poverty alleviation. Join Alexandra Fiorillo, Vice President of Global Programs at MFTransparency, to learn about this important work that has gained wide recognition for making significant advances in transparent pricing across the global microfinance industry.  Fiorillo will demonstrate models that show prices charged globally, review the factors that affect pricing of micro-loans, and describe how access to this valuable information can be used by all stakeholders to make better decisions. 

Level: Moderate
Alexandra Fiorillo, MicroFinance Transparency

Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Microlending  -  Session Room: Staten Island

Recent legislation and regulation in the U.S. financial markets raises challenges and opportunities for microfinance. In this workshop, presenters will summarize and discuss the Dodd-Frank Act, the CDFI bill, and other new stimulus legislation.  Participants are welcome to ask questions and join a discussion on what other legislation is or should be on the horizon to support microfinance in the U.S. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Level: Open

Azish Filabi, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Matthew Pippin, Department of the Treasury
2:00 pm - 3:15 pm

Promise and Peril of Microfinance Impact Evaluations  -  The North Pavilion

Microlending is a $44 billion industry, with more than 86 million microcredit borrowers worldwide. After garnering a Nobel Prize and countless newspaper headlines, what do we really know about the impact of all this microlending effort? Join the world’s leading academics, researchers, and thinkers at the forefront of this discussion. From the “gold standard” of Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) to groundbreaking qualitative studies on the financial lives of the poor, learn what we know about microfinance (including microcredit & microsavings) from Professor Jonathan Morduch, before diving into a panel discussion that asks, “What don’t we know that we ought to?”

Level: Moderate

Christopher Dunford, Freedom from Hunger
Dean Karlan, Yale University
Jonathan Morduch, NYU Wagner School, New York University
David Roodman, Center for Global Development

Innovations and Alternatives in Credit Scoring  -  Session Room: Staten Island

How do U.S. microfinance institutions evaluate clients with little or no credit history? Connecting underbanked and subprime consumers with responsible, affordable credit products requires both helping these customers to improve their traditional credit score and developing new ways to measure credit worthiness. This session focuses on the latter by exploring new innovations in how consumers are evaluated beyond the traditional credit score. 

Level: Moderate

Vikki Frank, Credit Builders Alliance
Alexander Liu, MasterCard Worldwide
Peter Maynard, Capital One Consumer Bank
Maxine Sweet, Experian North America

Microlending in the U.S.: The CDFI Way  -  Session Room: San Francisco

Community Development Financial Institutions, known as CDFIs, are the leading microlenders in the U.S. The CDFI model brings together nonprofit expertise, private capital, and government oversight to serve small business owners and create jobs. This panel will feature successful CDFIs discussing how these public/private/government partnerships work, the impact they have on underserved communities, and the challenges they face in scaling their reach. 

Level: Open

Dudley Benoit, Community Development Banking, JPMorgan Chase
Jonathan Brereton, ACCION Chicago
Galen Gondolfi, Justine Petersen
Devin McAlpine, Opportunity Fund

Where Will The Loan Capital Come From?  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

Where does a U.S. microfinance institution get their capital? What are the primary public and private sources and how is this landscape changing, through innovation, regulation and changes in the political climate? This panel will feature both public and private capital providers in a lively discussion of how far and how wide the flow of capital for microfinance will be in the coming years.

Level: Advanced

Janie Barrera, ACCION Texas-Louisiana
Donna Gambrell, U.S Treasury's Community Development Finance
Brinda Ganguly, The Rockefeller Foundation
Maika Hemphill, Kiva
Rey Ocanas, BBVA Compass

Understanding the Underbanked Consumer and the Future of Financial Services  -  Session Room: Manhattan

Microfinance products often reach a segment of the U.S. population that are un- or underbanked, or those whose financial needs are insufficiently met by traditionally financial institutions. In this session, top researchers will share data and recent studies on the profile, attitudes, and behaviors of underbanked consumers, and how some innovative financial institutions and community organizations are attempting to meet their needs. Learn the basics of the underbanked in the U.S. and hear what the future of financial services holds for this population and the broader underbanked marketplace. Presented by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. 

Level: Moderate

Eleni Constantine, Pew Charitable Trusts
Rachel Schneider, CFSI
3:15 pm - 3:45 pm

Break & Networking

3:45 pm - 5:00 pm

Not Just Credit: The Role of Financial Literacy & Credit Building in U.S. Microfinance  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

Financial education has complemented microlending around the world for decades. Committed to providing microentrepreneurs with the tools and know-how to successfully manage their microloan and build a business, nonprofit organizations have developed highly tailored programs, often times in partnership with mainstream financial institutions. This session will feature case studies of microenterprise organizations working to incorporate programs focused on credit building into their microlending programs as they respond to a rapidly changing U.S. credit reporting & scoring landscape. Join a discussion on which services are proving to be best for the microloan consumer.

Level: Open

Sheri Flanigan-Vazquez, Justine Petersen
Manny Hidalgo, Latino Economic Development Corporation
Joyce Klein, Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program
Lewis Roberts, Citi Microfinance

How do you Value Creditworthiness? The Past, Present, and Future of Microloan Underwriting  -  Session Room: Manhattan

This panel will look at the evolution of underwriting guidelines from pre-recession to current day trends to visions for the future of microloan underwriting. How do MFI’s respond to microenterprise changes and trends? How are new products developed? How much do MFI’s rely on scorecards versus a more relationship/character based approach? Panelists will invite the audience to explore long-term strategies for scale and innovation.

Level: Moderate

Caroline Glackin, Shepherd University
Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Jordan Pollinger, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Nelly Rojas-Moreno, ACCION Texas-Louisiana

Social Entrepreneurship & Microfinance  -  The North Pavilion

How is the work of social entrepreneurs intersecting with micro-entrepreneurs? Learn from small business owners about the impact they are having on their communities, and learn from social entrepreneurs about their ideas for large-scale social impact in the United States through small businesses. How are social enterprises facilitating change, and what is the future for the intersection of social and microentrepreneurship? 

Level: Open

Simonida Cvejic, Bay Area Medical Academy
Susan Davis, BRAC USA
Jessica Jackley, ProFounder
Natalia Oberti Noguera, Pipeline Fund

Growing Microbusinesses into Million $ Enterprises  -  Session Room: Queens

What do the owners of a business giving lice advice in Brooklyn, a fashion apparel shop in Harlem, and woman-owned boutique construction firm in Manhattan have in common? They are all graduates of Nell Merlino’s Make Mine a Million $ Business program, an initiative that brings together coaching and tools to help grow women-owned businesses into million dollar enterprises. Meet the outstanding entrepreneurs behind these unique businesses and learn about the role that microlending, Count Me In, and other financial investments played in their developing their businesses. 

Level: Open

Adele Horowitz, Lice Advice
Princess Jenkins, The Brownstone
Nell Merlino, Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence
Rupila Sethi, Aerial Design and Build

Micro Deposits. Macro Impact - Microsavings in the United States  -  Session Room: Staten Island

“Microfinance” used to be shorthand for “microcredit.” But microfinance institutions are paying more attention to other products and services for their clients beyond credit; chief among them is savings. From starter banking and matched savings accounts to lotteries, U.S. organizations are exploring innovative approaches to support and build savings behaviors and products for microfinance consumers. Join a discussion on cutting-edge savings products in the United States and the research and partnerships that are making them possible. Hear why savings – not credit – is helping domestic groups achieve greater social impact

Level: Open

Gwendy Donaker Brown, Opportunity Fund
Timothy Flacke, Doorways to Dreams
Ben Mangan, EARN
Stephen Vogel, Grameen America
Justine Zinkin, Credit Where Credit Is Due
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Cocktail Reception  -  Offsite: 230 Fifth

Join us at 230 Fifth, one of NYC’s premiere rooftop bars, for spectacular views and tasty bites from ACCION’s microfinance entrepreneurs. Cocktails and light hors d’oeuvres will be served with the backdrop of the city immediately following the first day of the conference.