MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Planet Rating Recognized as Microfinance Rating Agency by Philippine Central Bank, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)

Planet Rating, a microfinance rating agency and member of the France-based PlaNet Finance Group, has been recognized by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, as a microfinance institution (MFI) rating agency. This recognition follows the company’s establishment of a regional office in Manila in 2009.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Technology Blog Analyzes Developments in Mexico’s Microfinance and Banking Sectors, Publishes Summary Note Covering Mexico’s Branchless Banking Industry

As part of a series on branchless banking around the world, a post was recently published on the CGAP Technology Blog, a website operated by US-based think tank CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), covering regulatory developments in the Mexican microfinance sector.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Chairman Sushil Munhot Discusses Financing Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Hold On New Lending to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)

Mr Sushil Munhot, chairman and managing director of the government-owned Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), recently argued in an interview with Indian newspaper The Economic Times that SIDBI complements commercial banks while also offering the added value of providing equity funding to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Enacts Most of Microfinance Guidelines Proposed by Malegam Committee

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s central banking authority, recently announced that it has accepted – with some modifications – the framework of recommendations issued by the Malegam Committee for the country’s microfinance industry.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Nigeria Inspecting Microfinance Institutions with Provisional Licenses, Plans to Cut Number of Microbanks “Drastically”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the nation’s central banking authority, recently announced that it has commenced inspections to assess the level of compliance with its operational guidelines at the 103 microfinance institutions (MFIs) that were granted approval-in-principle after being among the 224 MFIs that had their licenses revoked in September 2010.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fitch Ratings Stresses Importance of Single Regulator for Indian Microfinance Sector

Multiple Indian newspapers have cited an unnamed report on Indian microfinance regulation from global ratings agency Fitch that reportedly states that a single regulatory body is crucial to ensuring a stable Indian microfinance sector and that future legislation affecting microfinance should be developed through cooperative efforts between state and federal authorities.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Global Entrepreneurship Program: Is There Greater Need for Investment in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Than in Microfinance?

Alan Patricof, Founder and Managing Director of US-based venture capital company Greycroft Partners, argues in a recent issues of Fortune magazine that while microfinance institutions (MFIs) “do play an important role in development, there is an even greater need to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which have the greatest potential for job growth in most places around the world” [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Seeks Public Comment on Draft Revisions to “A Guide to Regulation and Supervision of Microfinance”

Eight years after first releasing the “Guiding Principles on Regulation and Supervision of Microfinance,” CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) has released a revised draft of the document (with a revised name) that reflects changes in the global microfinance sector.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFTransparency Updates Pricing Data for Cambodia’s Microfinance Industry

MFTransparency, a US-based nongovernmental organization (NGO) that provides information on credit products and pricing, has published updated pricing data for Cambodia. The updated data builds on the original data published in 2009 as part of its collection of international microloan product pricing data.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) Blog, Ignacio Mas, John Staley Offer Regulators, Financial Service Providers Ideas to Increase Financial Inclusion

Ignacio Mas, Senior Advisor to the Financial Services for the Poor Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and John Staley, Director of Finance and Shared Services at Equity Bank of Kenya, recently posted an entry on the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) blog titled “Are We Serious About Financial Inclusion for All?” [1]. Mr Mas and Mr Staley highlight the importance of increasing access to financial services in developing countries and outline their four suggestions for regulators and financial service providers to advance financial inclusion.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Focus Note Examines Cross-Border Funding of Microfinance

A new Focus Note from CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) examines data from CGAP’s annual surveys on cross-border microfinance funding to provide an overview of the microfinance funding landscape and trends in cross-border funding [1].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) Providing Islamic Microfinance Services in Iraq Face Governance Constraints Relating to Shariah Law

T Keyzom Ngodup, co-founder and executive director at Ideas sYnergy, an Iraq-based consulting company, recently reported that there are currently six microfinance institutions (MFIs) providing Islamic microfinance services across the Anbar, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Tikrit regions of Iraq. One of these is Al-Takadum, which operates in the Anbar region, the others are not named.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SEED Financial Services, Financial Information Network and Operations Limited (FINO), A Little World Seek Private Equity Funding to Scale Up Business Correspondent Operations in India

Business Standard, an Indian newspaper, has reported that SEED Financial Services, an Indian consulting, planning and implementation agency; Financial Information Network and Operations Limited (FINO), an Indian technology company that seeks to enable financial inclusion; and A Little World, a technology company based in India are seeking private equity funding to scale their business correspondent operations. Business correspondents are individuals or organizations that are permitted to “raise deposits; disburse tiny loans; recover bad loans; sell micro insurance, mutual funds, pension products and other third-party products; and receive and deliver small value remittances” on behalf on banks [2].

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Fondazione Giordano Dell’Amore Accepting Applications for Microfinance Best Practices International Award 2011

Fondazione Giordano Dell’Amore, an Italian foundation, is accepting applications for its Microfinance Best Practices International Award 2011. The award aims to increase the understanding of microfinance as a tool to fight poverty and social exclusion and to encourage microfinance practitioners to share successful practices. The focus of the award for 2011 is “transparency, client protection and social impact.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) Microfinance Blog Explores Effects of Arab Upheaval on Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)

CGAP Microfinance Blog, operated by US-based think tank CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), recently posted an article by Mohammed Khaled, a CGAP representative for the Middle East-North Africa Region, that explores the implications for microfinance institutions (MFIs) of the recent wave of demonstrations and resulting leadership changes that have occurred in the Middle East and North Africa. Mr Khaled says that while it “could be too early to analyze the impact of recent events in the Arab world on microfinance, one can conclude some general and common lessons despite differences among countries” [1]. Mr Khaled argues that the following areas are of the utmost importance: emergency plans, strategic partnerships with clients, internal control systems and job creation [1].