MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) Lends $16.4m to Housing Finance Bank (HFB) to Support Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in Uganda

The European Investment Bank (EIB), a European Union-sponsored development bank, recently agreed to provide a credit line worth UGX 45 billion (USD 16.4 million) to the Housing Finance Bank (HFB), a Ugandan commercial bank, for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises in Uganda. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Expected to Loan $5m in Local Currency to Imon International of Tajikistan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral institution that finances development projects around the world, is expected to issue a fou-year, senior loan worth the local-currency equivalent of USD 5 million to Imon International, a microfinance institution based in Tajikistan, to increase its lending small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lok Capital of Mauritius to Raise $100m for Third Fund, First Round to Close by April 2015

Lok Capital, a Mauritius-based venture capital fund that focuses on microfinance and other social businesses in India, reportedly is seeking to raise USD 100 million for a new fund that will focus on financial inclusion as its key priority, with agriculture and energy as secondary areas of interest [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: US Agency for International Development (USAID) to Provide $71m to Government of India for Banking, Clean Energy, Water and Sanitation

The US Agency for International Development (USAID), a government agency that provides international economic and humanitarian assistance, recently committed up to USD 71 million to the Government of India to support the country’s banking, clean energy and water and sanitation sectors. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Investment Bank (EIB) to Loan $31m to AccessBank Azerbaijan for On-lending to Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Luxembourg-based European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU), recently announced that it is extending an intermediated senior loan totaling EUR 25 million (USD 31 million) to AccessBank Azerbaijan, a microfinance bank (MFB) in Azerbaijan, for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Global Systems for Mobile Association (GSMA) Launches Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers

The Global Systems for Mobile Association (GSMA), a UK-based association of 1,000 mobile operators and associated companies, recently launched a “Code of Conduct for Mobile Money Providers” to provide guidance on best practices for its members. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank of Thailand (BOT) to Aid Non-Bank Lenders in Providing “Nano-Loans” of $3040 to $3650

The Bank of Thailand (BOT), the country’s central bank, recently announced that it will introduce a “nano-financing” scheme to enhance the ability of non-bank lenders to provide “nano-loans” that range from THB 100,000 (USD 3040) to THB 120,000 (USD 3650) and carry an annual interest rate of 30 to 36 percent. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Considers $200m Loan to Establish Network for On-lending to Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Kazakhstan

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based multilateral financial institution, recently announced that it is in the final stage of consideration for the establishment of a “Kazakhstan MSME Framework,” a credit facility totaling KZT 36 billion (USD 200 million) for on-lending to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Youth Are Less Risky Borrowers? European Microfinance Week Participants on Serving Young People via Leasing, Peer Education, Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs)

Countering the perception that youth are riskier borrowers than older clients, Maria Perdermo, the manager of the UN Capital Development Fund’s YouthStart program, recently presented data from seven African microfinance institutions (MFIs) showing that all but one have lower rates of portfolio at risk (PAR) within the segments of their portfolios serving youth than organization-wide. Nonetheless, she noted, youth often make up a disproportionately small share of an MFI’s customer base because loan officers believe they are less likely than others to repay, which would threaten the bonus that many loan officers receive when more of their clients do repay their loans. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: On Microbusiness Support in Conflict Zones, a Discussion at European Microfinance Week

Major David Beskow of the US Military Academy told a crowd at European Microfinance Week, about distributing microgrants in eastern Baghdad, Iraq, largely to women shop-owners for refrigeration, generators or inventory. Funded by the Iraqi government and the US Army’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program, each grant ranged in size from USD 500 to USD 5,000. Although no repayment was required, each beneficiary business was documented through photos and other means before disbursal and after one and six months, in the presence of local police. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Distinguishing Multiple Lending from Over-indebtedness at European Microfinance Week

“Multiple borrowing was endemic,” in Bangladesh as of 2008, says Shameran Abed, the director of microfinance at Bangladesh-based Brac International, “but we didn’t know if this was bad, although we knew it was a risk.” Mr Abed was speaking this morning at the opening plenary of the last day of European Microfinance Week, which is organized by the Luxembourgish NGO European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP). In the past, he explained, the members of borrowing groups were good at letting Brac staff know who was a good credit risk. As the market was getting saturated, “Groups became less cohesive, so we couldn’t totally rely on them to tell us if individuals were becoming overindebted.” Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Kompanion of Kyrgyzstan Wins $125k European Microfinance Award on Microfinance and the Environment for Pasture Land Management Training

Kompanion Wins EMAThe Kompanion Financial Group, a microfinance institution (MFI) in Kyrgyzstan, was selected today from three finalists to receive the Fifth European Microfinance Award, which includes a cash prize of EUR 100,000 (USD 125,000). Pictured at the right are Her Royal Highness the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg and Olesya Paukova the development director of Kompanion upon her receipt of the award on behalf of the MFI. Continue reading

 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Provides $12.5m to Fibabanka of Turkey to Support Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle (MIV), will disburse a EUR 10 million (USD 12.5 million) senior loan to Fibabanka, a Turkish commercial bank, for lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Week Participants: Transparency, Competition, Product-specific Rate Caps Can Lower Microloan Interest Rates

To open the two-day conference portion of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by the 130-member, Luxembourg-based European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), panelists and attendees addressed “Balancing financial inclusion, market stability and client protection.” Narda Sotomayor, who leads the Department of Microfinance Analysis at Peru’s Superintendencia de Banca, Seguros y Administradoras Privadas de Fondos de Pensiones, stated that “MFIs [microfinance institutions] moving further down market to serve new people is risky, as this group has less financial education, less collateral. An institution’s credit portfolio can deteriorate quickly unless its lending methodology is revised as part of a dynamic process.” On the issue of increasing financial capability, she added, “We find synergies between financial education and stability. This also leads to benefits for institutions and the whole system.” Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The MasterCard Foundation, Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO) Provide $6.5m to Launch Accion Africa Board Fellowship

Accion, a US-based nonprofit organization that offers services such as microenterprise loans and business training in 32 coutries; The MasterCard Foundation, a Canadian nonprofit that promotes financial inclusion and education in emerging markets; and Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently partnered to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship in an effort to promote improved corporate governance and risk management practices in financial institutions assisting people with low incomes. Continue reading