Unitus Equity Fund L.P. Invests $1,000,000 in Credex

September 6, 2006 Posted by Press Release

Unitus Equity Fund L.P. Invests $1,000,000 in Credex

Investment Will Allow Credex to Bring Microfinance to More of Mexico’s Working Poor

Redmond, WA—September 6, 2006—The Unitus Equity Fund L.P., a private equity fund which invests in emerging microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia and Latin America, today announced an investment in Credex (Grupo Crediexpress S.A. de C.V.), an MFI in Mexico.  The Fund’s investment of $1,000,000, its first investment in Mexico, will support Credex’s work to bring financial services to more of Mexico’s poor.  The Unitus Equity Fund is affiliated with Unitus, Inc., a leading microfinance organization based in Redmond, Washington.  Co-investing with the Unitus Equity Fund in Credex are Controladora Project S.A. de C.V., a Mexican investment fund, and several individual Mexican investors.

With 15 branches in seven Mexican states, Credex is one of the fastest-growing MFIs in Mexico, serving more than 12,000 clients.  Credex, founded in 2002, targets the working poor in southwestern and central Mexico and has plans to expand across the nation.

Credex’s founder and CEO, Eduardo Gallardo, has more than 22 years of experience in Mexico’s commercial finance industry.  Mr. Gallardo, formerly the Divisional Director of the Mexican Western Region for Bancomer-BBV, Mexico’s leading commercial bank, started Credex with the goal of establishing a dominant microfinance player.  Credex has a senior management team made up of experienced commercial and investment bankers who believe strongly in the microfinance opportunity in Mexico.

The Credex Board of Directors is comprised of Mr. Gallardo and leading finance professionals and entrepreneurs who seek to make a difference. Board members include José Madariaga, Emilio Bezanilla, Francisco Beckmann, and Rafael Barroso.  José Madariaga is one of the foremost bankers in México. During his career he presided over the Mexican Stock Exchange for two terms and was the President of the Mexican Bankers Association. Emilio Bezanilla has enjoyed a long executive career in a number of financial sectors in Mexico and is a shareholder in several companies. Francisco Beckmann is an investor and entrepreneur who owns majority interests in a number of companies in the agricultural, spirits and commercial sectors. He is among the main shareholders and was Vice President of Production for Tequila Cuervo, the largest tequila company in Mexico.  Rafael Barroso manages several construction, development and import companies and has overseen the development and construction of two shopping centers.

As part of the investment, Chris Brookfield and Humberto Bañuelos will also join the Credex board.  Brookfield is Investment Director of the Unitus Equity Fund.  Bañuelos has 23 years of experience in the financial sector and is currently the CEO of Progress Wealth Management, a company specializing in international private banking.  In 2005 he was Vice President of the Florida International Bankers Association.

Said Unitus Equity Fund Investment Director Chris Brookfield: “Credex was chosen for its excellent leadership team, entrepreneurial spirit, aggressive growth plans, transparent organization, and its commitment to innovative lending methodologies.  We look forward to working with Credex because we believe that bringing financial services to the poor in Mexico will be a great investment.”

“We’re delighted to be the Unitus Equity Fund’s first investment in Mexico,” said Credex Founder and CEO Eduardo Gallardo. “Since we started in 2002 Credex has achieved tremendous growth.  With the Fund’s investment, we’re in a position to finalize the implementation of our new microfinance methodology and provide financial services to even more of Mexico’s working poor and underserved population.  That we can attract international financing such as the Unitus Equity Fund highlights the effectiveness of our pro-growth strategy and the strength of our organization.”

About Credex:

Credex (Grupo Crediexpress S.A. de C.V.) is a for-profit microfinance institution that was founded in June 2002 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Credex targets the working poor in southwestern and central Mexico who lack access to financial services.  Since its inception Credex has disbursed over 30,000 loans and currently serves close to 12,000 active borrowers with a $5 million loan portfolio.  Credex achieved profitability in 2005.  Since 2003 Credex has grown at a compounded annual growth of 146 percent while opening 15 branches in 7 states in southwestern and central Mexico.  Credex has actively built its presence and brand in Mexico, recruiting a professional, talented team and creating the infrastructure to support future expansion.

About the Unitus Equity Fund:

The Unitus Equity Fund L.P. is a private equity fund which invests in emerging microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia and Latin America.  With an investment portfolio of two MFIs in India and one in Mexico, the Unitus Equity Fund is one of the leading private equity funds active in the microfinance industry today.  The Fund will lead in the development of a commercial equity market serving the microfinance industry. A robust equity market will lower the cost and increase the amount of capital available to the world’s poor, furthering our goal of increasing access to microfinance. Launched in the spring of 2006, the Fund is affiliated with Unitus, Inc., an innovative microfinance organization based in Redmond, Washington.

About Unitus:

Unitus, Inc. is a nonprofit organization creating innovative solutions to global poverty using a venture capital model. Unitus dramatically accelerates the growth of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and demonstrates that many MFIs can be run as profitable, large-scale, poverty-focused businesses with links to formal capital markets. As of June 2006 Unitus had 10 MFI partners worldwide serving more than 820,000 poor clients. Based in Redmond, WA, USA and with offices in Bangalore, India, Unitus relies on innovative financial instruments and the resources of like-minded individuals and foundations to fulfill its mission. Unitus received the 2006 Fast Company Social Capitalist Award for taking an innovative, business-minded approach to alleviating global poverty. For more information about Unitus, please visit: www.unitus.com.

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