Honduras, one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America, depends heavily on trade with the U.S. for it $20.2 billion GDP. The economy has begun to diversify from its dependence on exports of coffee and bananas, with exports of farmed seafood, melons, chilies, and textiles. Up to one million Hondurans live in the U.S.; their remittances totaled $1.4 billion in 2005--15 percent of foreign exchange.
Nearly two-thirds of Hondurans live in poverty and 28 percent are unemployed. Of those employed, 45 percent work in services, 34 percent in agriculture, and 21percent in industry. Income distribution is extraordinarily unequal and the GDP per capita is jus $2,800. Rates of malnutrition among children reach 50 percent in some districts.
Climate for microfinance:
• Microfinance institutions are regulated primarily on a voluntary basis, but the National Banking Commission is rewriting norms and procedures to use recently passed legislation to stimulate microlending.
• Ongoing initiatives to reform the law governing development organizations are working their way through the National Congress.
FINCA Honduras (Founded 1989)
FINCA Honduras serves clients in 15 of the 18 "departamentos" (states) of Honduras, with seven main branches in Tegucigalpa, Comayagua, La Entrada de Copán, Choluteca, San Pedro Sula, El Progreso and Juticalpa, and four additional points of service in Nacaome, Talanga, Santa Rosa de Copán and Santa Cruz de Yojoa as outreach to rural clients is expanded.
Ana Osorio can afford meat and schoolbooks for her children thanks to FINCA
FINCA HondurasClients: 11,040
Village Banking groups: 1,342
Percent women: 73%
Loans outstanding: $7,438,057
Average loan size: $826
Services: Village Banking and individual loans, micro-insurance
Geography: Slightly larger than Virginia, Honduras is between Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua in Central America. Its Caribbean coast is subject to severe hurricanes.
Population: 7.3 million
Ethnicities: Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, black 2%, white 1%
Religions: Roman Catholic 97%, Protestant 3%
Average life expectancy: 69.3 years
Median age: 19.5 years
Literacy: 76.2 percent
Government: democratic constitutional republic
* Program information is updated on a monthly basis from reports from the field.