MetLife Foundation Expands Financial Inclusion to Rural China

Ever since the MetLife Foundation launched its $200 million financial inclusion initiative, it’s been moving money out of the program at breakneck speed. Not to mention that it has managed to pick up a few heavyweight partners along the way, such as the Wall Street Journal and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. The foundation has partnered with another heavyweight, Opportunity International, to further its financial inclusion cause.

The MetLife Foundation recently announced a three-year, $1.8 million partnership with Opportunity International to promote increased financial knowledge and improved access to financial services in rural China. Over the next three years, the partnership hopes to: 

  • Expand access to financial services to over 4,000 small business
  • Create and/or sustain over 20,000 jobs
  • Increase financial knowledge for over 3,500 entrepreneurs 

The partnership will also deliver customized financial products as well as conduct a study regarding major challenges and insights into financial inclusion for rural Chinese populations. Dennis White, president and CEO of the MetLife Foundation, noted that the partnership with Opportunity International will “provide rural entrepreneurs with the resources they need to thrive, create jobs and increase incomes and assets in their communities.”

As we mentioned previously, ever since it launched its financial inclusion initiative, the MetLife Foundation has had a knack for attracting some major organizations along the way. Opportunity International is no exception. Operating mainly as a microfinance institution, Opportunity International has served over 12 million people and has formed some 100 Trust Groups around the globe—both groups consist mainly of women. The organization also offers what it calls a “full suite of financial products,” including microinsurance and savings accounts.

Joining up with an organization that offers additional legs to the financial inclusion stool, like savings accounts and microinsurance, makes this partnership pretty exciting, because there are a whole lot of NGOs supporting financial inclusion through increased access and microlending. Very few, however, have payed much mind to other avenues to financial inclusion like microinsurance and savings accounts, which also help the world’s poor secure a more stable financial future. Just as important, these types of safety nets help prevent them from getting stuck in the poverty cycle when short- and long-term financial shocks occur.