AKDN began operating a microfinance programme in 2003, and in 2008, under the new microfinance decree, it incorporated First MicroFinance Institution Syria (FMFI-S) as a microfinance company and obtained a deposit-taking license.
Until the outbreak of conflict, AKDN's work spanned six major provinces (Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Lattakia, Sweida and Tartous), serving both rural and urban populations, and encompassing rural economic development, tourism and enterprise development, the strengthening of civil society organizations and the protection of cultural heritage. Following FMFI-S’s establishment, other microfinance institutions opened including UNRWA’s Ebdaa Bank, and the National Institution for Microfinance, Al-Wataniya. The sector was thriving until the outbreak of the conflict, which led these institutions to stop operating completely. Operations were resumed at a rudimentary level as the security situation in the Damascus governorate became more stable towards the end of 2014. Since the onset of the crisis, FMFI has partnered with local organizations to facilitate aid distribution projects such as cash assistance through savings accounts – providing immediate relief while promoting a culture of financial inclusion.