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MicroPlace Announces First Microfinance Investment Offering 6 Percent Return for Everyday Investors

Submitted by: eBay Inc.

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Finance

Posted: Apr 06, 2009 – 11:00 AM EST


New investment gives everyday people the opportunity to invest tax refunds to help the working poor out of poverty

San Jose, Calif. - April 6, 2009 - MicroPlace (www.microplace.com), a website that enables everyday people to invest in the world's working poor, announced today the launch of the first microfinance investment opportunity that offers a 6 percent annual return for everyday investors.

This investment offering comes at a time when Americans are examining the best ways to use their tax refunds in a tough economy. According to a recent poll by Taxsoftware.com, 58 percent of Americans planned to either save or invest their refunds and 27 percent planned to donate a portion to charity.1

Through MicroPlace, investors have a unique opportunity to receive financial returns while simultaneously making a positive impact on poverty. With the launch of MicroPlace’s latest offering, an investment as small as $20 can help lift Nicaragua's working poor out of poverty and yield a 6 percent annual return for the investor. The 6 percent investment comes on the heels of two additional noteworthy microfinance investment opportunities: a 5 percent security offered by MicroCredit Enterprises that launched in March and sold out in less than two months; and an investment allowing investors to get their money back anytime offered by Oikocredit that is still available on MicroPlace.

"During the same time last year, we saw a significant spike in the number of investments made through MicroPlace," said Ashwini Narayanan, general manager of MicroPlace. "We are optimistic that taxpayers will act charitably again with our growing portfolio of investments, including the recent 6 percent security. We are thrilled at the opportunity that new investment products like this can create, in terms of additional value for our investors, and most importantly, the impact it can have on the lives of low-income entrepreneurs around the world."

The 6 percent investment available on MicroPlace is offered by Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN), a non-profit entity that funds small loans to low-income Latin American entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers. The WCCN’s loan fund project, the Nicaraguan Credit Alternatives Fund, is currently lending over $8 million to 15 Nicaraguan microfinance partner agencies that specialize in providing financial services to enterprises owned by low-income Nicaraguans. WCCN has a particularly low cost of capital thanks to the generosity of donors, long-time investors opting for lower returns, an active volunteer board, and local staff in the field. This, coupled with a 100 percent repayment history, allows them to offer a higher rate on this investment without compromising rates charged to borrowers.

"With MicroPlace, we hope to reach more investors that want to make a positive impact on poverty," said Carlos Arenas, executive director of WCCN. "WCCN has been working in the microfinance industry for over 17 years. This year alone, our microfinance partners are helping more than 250,000 Nicaraguan borrowers become successful entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers."

Microfinance has been recognized worldwide as a simple but powerful tool that enables the poor to pull themselves out of poverty. Most commonly, it involves making small loans to the working poor in developing countries. The loans are used to establish or expand small businesses that generate additional income for the family, enabling them to buy food, access healthcare, educate their children, put aside savings and lay the foundation for a better future.

About MicroPlace (an eBay Inc. company)

MicroPlace (www.microplace.com), launched in 2007, is a website that enables everyday people to invest in the world’s working poor. This online investment site, whose mission is to alleviate global poverty, facilitates investments in microfinance that have proven to be an effective way of transforming people on the margins of society into economically productive individuals. MicroPlace is championing a model that fuses people’s instincts to be philanthropic with the efficacy of investing to raise microfinance capital. To date, microfinance has enabled a billion people to lift themselves out of poverty. MicroPlace aims to extend microfinance’s helping hand to the next billion people working in poverty-- one investment at a time.

About eBay Inc.

Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications. Building on this positive foundation, eBay Global Citizenship was formed to harness the capabilities that underlie our core businesses to further our ability to be a "force for good." Our citizenship portfolio includes the eBay Green Team, the eBay Foundation, and our ventures for social good - eBay Giving Works, MicroPlace, and WorldofGood.com by eBay.

About Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN)

WCCN, formerly the Wisconsin Coordinating Council on Nicaragua, is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Madison, WI. Utilizing the powerful tool of microcredit, WCCN provide low-income Latin American entrepreneurs and small-scale farmers access to financing. Microcredit borrowers use their loans to start and/or grow their operations and ultimately work their way out of poverty. WCCN's socially responsible investors enable microcredit lending while receiving financial and social returns.

Because WCCN believes in taking a holistic approach to poverty alleviation, it also works to promote fair trade, women’s empowerment, and housing improvement initiatives while fostering greater understanding, goodwill, and peace through people-to-people exchanges.


  • All investments are subject to risks, which may result in the loss of principal and interest. Investors should read the relevant security issuer prospectus found on the MicroPlace website to understand all the risks associated with making an investment prior to purchase.

  • Investments made on MicroPlace are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency.

  • Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.

For more information, please contact:

Phone: 408-376-7458


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