Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, a non-profit organisation which gives out micro-credit loans to the hardcore poor, aims to disburse loans worth RM1 billion next year.
Its managing director Zabidah Ismail said to achieve this target, the organisation will increase its branches across Malaysia by another five to eight from 86 now.
To date, it has disbursed 80 per cent of the RM800 million worth of loans allocated for this year.
"We plan to open four branches each in Sarawak and Johor by the fourth quarter of next year," Zabidah told reporters after a MS ISO 9001:2000 certification ceremony in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"We manage to get funding from the government and hope to receive extra allocation under the 10th Malaysia Plan," she added.
Amanah Ikhtiar is modelled after Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. It helps the hardcore poor by helping them venture into businesses with its micro-credit loans. The body is monitored by the Finance Ministry and has 230,000 members to date.
Since its inception in 1986, Amanah Ikhtiar has disbursed nearly RM3.5 billion worth of loans.
"The smallest loan is RM500, while the highest that one can borrow is RM50,000," said finance and administration director Zalmah Mahusin.
"We plan to increase the membership to another 30,000 members by next year and we are looking for serious people who are below the poverty line to start businesses in anything," she said.
Zalmah added that through Amanah Ikhtiar, borrowers do not have to come with guarantee letters and the interest rates are nominal, at 1 per cent per month.
"For the urban poor they have to be below the household income bracket of RM2,000 per household per month and for those in rural areas they have to come under the the state poverty level, which differs from one state to another," she said.
Those who are 16 years old and above are eligible for the loan.
Interested applicants must form a group of five applicants before approaching Amanah Ikhtiar for loans, of which all five members will also be entitled for such loans to start their own businesses.