Washington, D.C. -
A $125 million equity investment in
microfinance institution ASA International from a private equity fund suggests the Bangladeshi firm will use the world's
largest-ever capital infusion for a micro-lender to rapidly expand loan programs in heavily populated China and Indonesia.
Microfinance Investors announced Feb. 12 it closed the record deal with large commitments from U.S. financial services company
TIAA-CREF and Dutch pension fund ABP. The size of the investment in ASA dwarfs the recent $50 million collectively raised
from Silicon Valley Bank, Sequoia Capital and others to support SKS Microfinance of India.
While another Bangladeshi
micro-lender, Grameen Bank, has drawn wide praise thanks to the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to its founder, Muhammad Yunus,
ASA International has earned kudos for its cost-efficiency and placed first on Forbes magazine's first-ever rankings
of the world's Top 50 Microfinance Institutions in December 2007.