Category: Risks

SPECIAL REPORT: Over-indebtedness, Microfinance and Environment Award, Conflict Zones at e-MFP’s European Microfinance Week

MicroCapital: Please describe one of the key issues to be covered this year at European Microfinance Week.

Christoph Pausch: The question of over-indebtedness is still the major risk for the sector, as identified in the most recent Banana Skins survey. We had a very successful plenary last year exploring the issue from a research perspective. This year, we’re taking a very different approach by bringing CEOs of leading microfinance institutions (MFIs) from three countries – Bangladesh, Morocco, and Mexico – to discuss how they’ve been dealing with the issue. Each of these countries has had a different experience, with Bangladesh having successfully averted a potential crisis by slowing market growth (as described in an excellent paper by Stuart Rutherford and Greg Chen). Morocco was one of the original “microfinance crisis” countries during 2008 and 2009, and the MFIs there have had an interesting experience in resolving the problems from that period. Finally, Mexico is a major market with serious concerns regarding over-indebtedness, and MFIs there are working to avert a potential crisis. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM) Announces Launch of Website Promoting Uniform Standards

Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM), a platform that promotes adoption of risk management standards in microfinance, has announced the launch of its official website, which aims to provide a “hub for the dissemination of risk management standards, information sharing and industry cooperation” [1]. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment for Microfinance Institutions, Microinsurance Awareness in Ghana, G2P for Financial Inclusion: A Job Half Done

“Digital Financial Services Risk Assessment For Microfinance Institutions – A Pocket Guide;” by Tom Shaw, Marcella Willis, Daryl Skoog, Sonia Arenaza, Sudha Garg, Susan Salerno, Eve Hamilton and Shailee Adnolfi; published by The Digital Financial Services Working Group; September 2014; 15 pages; available at

The authors of this “pocket guide”[1] argue for the importance of “Digital Financial Services (DFS)”[1] to reach low-income individuals who do not have access to traditional banking solutions. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: United Nations’ International Labour Office, World Bank Group (WBG) to Provide Index Microinsurance in Developing Countries in Africa, Asia

The International Labour Office (ILO), an agency of the United Nations
that deals with labour standards, and the World Bank Group (WBG), a
group of five multilateral organizations that invest in developing
countries, reportedly have entered into a three-year partnership with
the aim of providing index microinsurance products in Africa and Asia
through ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility (MIF), which provides grants to organizations to develop microinsurance products, and WBG’s Global Index Insurance Facility (GIIF), a trust fund that supports disaster and weather index insurance markets. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP) Increases Maximum Microinsurance Benefits for Clients in the Philippines to $11k

The Bangko Sentral Ng Pilipinas (BSP), the central bank of the Philippines, has issued Circular Number 841, which amends the Manual of Regulation for Banks, increasing mandated maximum microinsurance premiums and benefits. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Microfinance “Banana Skins” Risk Assessment; Effects of Microloans from Compartamos in Mexico; Youth Financial Inclusion Video

“Microfinance Banana Skins 2014: Facing Reality;” published by Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation; July 2014; 84 pages; available at

This report, which is based on data collected by surveying 306 people associated with the microfinance industry, examines 19 risks faced by microfinance institutions (MFIs) across the globe. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Over-indebtedness in Mexico; Achieving Customer Centricity; Managing Over-indebtedness

“Over-Indebtedness in Mexico: Its Effect on Borrowers;” published by Microfinance CEO Working Group; May 2014; 32 pages; available at

This report cautions lending institutions in Mexico about rising levels of over-indebtedness – meaning more borrowers cannot reasonably repay their debts – which can threaten the financial system as well as the economic outlook of low-income individuals. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: PlaNet Finance, China Microfinance Institution Association (CMIA) Seek to Strengthen Risk Management

PlaNet Finance, an NGO based in Paris, France, recently announced a partnership with the China Microfinance Institution Association (CMIA), a trade group of microfinance institutions (MFIs), to enhance risk management in the microfinance industry in China. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Entrepreneurial Finance Lab Offers Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) Credit Scores for Micro-, Small Enterprises (MSEs) Based on Psychometric Tests

In an effort to promote financing to self-employed entrepreneurs and micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) in emerging economies, Entrepreneurial Finance Lab (EFL), a US-based company, is employing psychometric analyses to assess the creditworthiness of loan applicants. Continue reading


OPINION: No Silver Bullet: While Microfinance Alone Won’t End Poverty, It Is Making an Impact – So Let’s Re-focus It to Serve the Poor

The debate about the contributions that microfinance is making to global poverty alleviation is an interesting one. But it’s also getting a little tedious.

We are all disappointed that microfinance has not, as the popular culture has promoted it, proven to be the “silver bullet” for poverty alleviation. If, however, we challenge ourselves to really understand (and be transparent about) the strengths and limitations of microfinance, and begin to think about it as just one part of a more comprehensive package of development services, the debate (and potential for impact) becomes much more interesting. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Using Subsidies for Inclusive Insurance: Lessons from Agriculture and Health;” by Ruth Vargas Hill, Gissele Gajate-Garrido, Caroline Phily, and Aparna Dalal; Published by International Labour Organization

“Using Subsidies for Inclusive Insurance: Lessons from Agriculture and Health;” by Ruth Vargas Hill, Gissele Gajate-Garrido, Caroline Phily, and Aparna Dalal; published by International Labour Organization; January 2014; 55 pages; available at

This report was published by the Microinsurance Innovation Facility, a nonprofit research institution housed within the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) that promotes the development of insurance products and risk-mitigation markets in developing economies. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFX Solutions, Fonds pour l’Inclusion Financière en République Démocratique Congo to Provide Technical Assistance to Banks, Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)

MFX Solutions, a US-based company that provides currency hedging solutions for microfinance institutions (MFIs) and microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs), recently announced that it has entered into a two-year technical assistance partnership with Fonds pour l’inclusion financière en république démocratique Congo, a nonprofit microlending organization in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that is known by its English acronym FPM, in an effort to help financial institutions better manage risks. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Indian Microfinance Institutions Trident, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Limited (BSFL) May Close Due to Lack of Funds

Trident Microfin Private Limited, a microfinance institution (MFI) in India, reportedly may shut down operations after being denied a loan write-down and additional funding from a forum of 21 lenders in the Indian state Andhra Pradesh. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Why Microfinance Institutions Offer Unprofitable Housing Loans

On November 14, the closing day of the European Microfinance Platform’s (e-MFP’s) European Microfinance Week, Wilson Twamuhabwa, CEO of Uganda’s Ugafode Microfinance Limited, explained that his organization began to offer housing loan products partly because its clients were using 30 percent of their loans for housing anyway. Continue reading