ASHI established its root in January 1989 as an action-research project led by Prof. Generoso Octavio of the College of Economics, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) with initial funding from Asia Pacific Development Center (APDC) based in Malaysia.
Two years after its inception, was registered under Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a non-stock, non-profit, non-governmental organization (NGO). This status as an NGO, gave ASHI the legal personality to participate into contracts and loan arrangements with the freedom to receive grants and donations from various stakeholders and agencies, both local and international, committed to the same goal of alleviating the worsening problem of the poor.
ASHI had pioneered the Grameen Bank Approach (GBA) in the Philippines, founded by Professor Muhammad Yunus of the Economics Department of the Chittagong University, Bangladesh. This approach provided opportunities to the poorest women with direct access to non-collateralized loan funds to help them increase their income and employment opportunities without passing through the rigid requirements of the traditional lending agency like the banks. ASHI also offer other products and services to its clients such as, savings, and micro-insurance. Other services include, agricultural program, leadership and micro- enterprise trainings, financial literacy, medical assistance, relief and rehabilitation projects.
With this distinction, during the decades of 1990 and 2000, ASHI had been the seat of exposures and trainings for small and large institutions, both local and international, that started their micro- credits ventures using the Grameen Bank Methodology.
ASHI has been one of the founding members of the Micro- Finance Council of the Philippines (MCPI) and the Micro- Finance Information and Data Sharing (MIDAS) Credit Bureau.
It has initially operated in the neighboring communities of UPLB, Los Banos, Laguna and expanded around Laguna Lake through the Provinces of Rizal, Quezon, South of Metro Manila and part of Cavite. In 1995 ASHI started its maiden expansion outside Luzon, in the Province of Antique in the Visayas.
As of September 30, 2015, ASHI has already penetrated the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, South of Metro Manila, Quezon, Antique, Aklan and Capiz through its 28 branches and reached out to 33,435 families with most of them residing in hard-to-reach areas in the provinces, with a total portfolio of Php 450,966,984.00. Retention Rate is maintained at 94 % for the past 5 years and Repayment Rate of 98%.