New York, August 21, 2008 – LawFuel – Legal Jobs & Newswire – Baker & McKenzie LLP advised Citi on its five year contract with AT Microloans I LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of ACCION Texas, Inc. to purchase up to $30 million in microenterprise loans—a first for the U.S. microfinance industry. The deal will give ACCION Texas the capital it needs to expand.
ACCION Texas will become Citi’s service provider for the transaction, handling underwriting, servicing and collections. Both Citi and ACCION Texas will share the risks of this community economic development effort.
Baker & McKenzie created the legal structure and documentation for the landmark agreement. The Firm contributed all of its time to this important community economic development endeavor free of charge. The Firm’s team was led by corporate Partner and co-chair of the Firm’s global securitization practice group Richard Rudder, and Partner Robert Lewis, co-chair of the Firm’s New York office pro bono committee.
“We are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with Citi and to develop the legal architecture of this unique offering,” said Richard Rudder. “It’s deeply satisfying to be able to apply our expertise in structured finance to bring a transaction with important social benefit to fruition.”
Robert Lewis added: “Baker & McKenzie is committed to leveraging its global reach for the greater good. Microfinance helps many break free from the cycle of poverty. Our goal in contributing our legal expertise on projects such as these is to revitalize the communities around the world where people live and work.”
Citi Microfinance works with leading microfinance institutions, networks and investors as partners and clients to expand access to financial products and services to individuals that are not currently reached or are underserved by financial institutions (www.citi.com/citigroup/microfinance). Additional information may be found at www.citi.com.
“This deal would not have happened without the innovative and extensive expertise Baker & McKenzie provided in the securitization area,” said Robert Annibale, Citi’s Global Director of Microfinance. “They proved to be the perfect partner in this transaction, because they are committed to working with the microfinance sector and are as passionate about it as we are at Citi.”
Founded in 1994, ACCION Texas is the nation’s largest 501(c) (3) non-profit loan fund and has provided $70 million in more than 9,000 loans to more than 6,000 clients. Its mission is to provide loans to small business owners who cannot secure access to commercial credit. More information may be found at www.acciontexas.org.