Robert Christen

Boulder Institute of Microfinance

Robert Christen is President and founding member of the Boulder Institute of Microfinance. Mr. Christen has held several positions including Deputy Director General at Banco Compartamos in Mexico, Professor of Practice in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, Director of Financial Services for the Poor at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Senior Advisor for CGAP at the World Bank.  He has had a prolific career advancing the work of leading microfinance institutions in diverse regions of the world including Mexico, Brazil (Banco Noreste), Tanzania, Chile (Banco Estado), China, South Africa and more.

He has been a pioneer and creator of key initiatives serving the industry’s need to establish measures, risk analysis, and executive capacity building. Among these initiatives are the MicroBanking Bulletin, the Microfinance Information Exchange, and the Microfinance Management Institute. With a strong base and know how from field experience on clients and MFI’s, he has authored a number of microfinance publications that have served to open discussion on the importance of permanence, scalability, and sustainability of financial services for the poorest, providing executive capacity building to microfinance professionals, donors, and regulators. Ultimately, he has consistently strived to facilitate better service and innovation within the microfinance industry to help the poorest clients at the bottom of the pyramid.

Bob Christen, as he is known to colleagues and to over 7,000 Boulder alumni, has his M.A. in Agricultural Economics and Development Finance from The Ohio State University. He received his B.A. in Political Science from Beloit College and is a native of the City of Syracuse in the heart of the State of New York.