Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

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 https://lextonblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/dfs_risk_guide_sept_2014_final.pdf

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

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Borrowing in Cambodia from Microfinance, Commercial Banks Forecast to Increase by 147% to $14b by 2020

The latest outlook published by the Credit Bureau of Cambodia (CBC), a provider of credit information to organizations and consumers in Cambodia, forecasts that the total number of customers of microfinance institutions (MFIs) and commercial banks will increase from 1.9 million to 3.3 million individuals by 2020 and that these customers will borrow a total of USD 14 billion by that time, up from USD 5.7 billion [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FirstRand Bank Downscaling into Microfinance in Suburban Mumbai, India

Under a pilot project named “Easy Banking,” FirstRand Bank, a commercial bank based in South Africa, is providing financial services to shops and other small businesses in areas of suburban Mumbai, such as Bandra and Lokhandwala, based on the rationale that competition is too fierce in areas with higher population densities. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) of Sri Lanka Pays $20m to Acquire 60% Stake in Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) from Developing World Markets, TPC Employee Association

Thaneakea Phum (Cambodia) (TPC), a Cambodia-based microfinance institution (MFI), recently informed MicroCapital that Developing World Markets Asset Management (DWM), a US-based investment fund manager, has sold 55-percent equity stake in TPC to LOLC Micro Investments Limited (LOMI), a subsidiary of Sri-Lankan financial services group Lanka Orix Leasing Company (LOLC) [1]. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Integrated Health and Microfinance in India, Volume II: The Way Forward;” by Somen Saha, D.S.K. Rao; published by Microcredit Summit Campaign, Freedom from Hunger

“Integrated Health and Microfinance in India, Volume II: The Way Forward;” by Somen Saha and D.S.K. Rao; published by the Microcredit Summit Campaign and Freedom from Hunger; 2014; 36 pages; available at http://microcreditsummit.org/uploads/resource/document/ffh_indiareport_2014_web_58274.pdf

This paper builds on a report entitled “Integrated Health and Microfinance in India: Harnessing the Strengths of Two Sectors to Improve Health and Alleviate Poverty”, which was written in 2012 by a group of authors that includes those who wrote “Volume Two.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Philippines-Based Metrobank Foundation to Expand Microfinance, Metrobank Group Donates $456k for Development Projects

The Metrobank Foundation, an arm of Philippine Financial Conglomerate Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank Group) recently announced that it plans to expand its microfinance project that is focused on Filipino citizens who work overseas, with particular attention to domestic workers based in Singapore and Hong Kong. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Myanmar Investments International Announces Joint Venture with Microfinance Institution (MFI) Myanmar Finance

Myanmar Investments Limited (MIL), a subsidiary of British Virgin Islands-based investment company Myanmar Investments International Limited (MIIL) recently entered into a conditional joint venture agreement with Myanmar Finance Company Limited (MFC), a Myanmar-based microfinance institution (MFI), to create Myanmar Finance International Limited (MFIL), which will be based in Myanmar and provide microfinance services in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) of Bangladesh Warns of Punishment for Non-compliant MFIs

The Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA), a Bangladeshi government body that oversees the operations of nongovernmental organization (NGO) microfinance institutions (MFIs), reportedly has issued a warning to MFIs in the country in response to violations of MRA regulations such as the requirement of a 15-day grace period on new loans before collecting loan repayments as well as the use of a declining-balance method of calculating interest. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s New Financial Inclusion Plan Seeks to Bring Every Household Bank Account, Pension, Insurance

Mr Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India, reportedly announced the launch of a new financial inclusion program, entitled “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana,” which means “Prime Minister’s People’s Wealth Mission”[1] and is intended to extend “banking, credit, insurance and pension services”[1] to every household in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Franklin Templeton Investments Launches Financial Inclusion Drive in India

Franklin Templeton Investments India, the Indian division of a Us-based mutual fund company Franklin Templeton Investments, in partnership with the Security Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the regulator for the securities market in India, reportedly has launched a financial inclusion campaign aimed at enlightening people on the mutual funds industry in India’s Rangareddy district. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) Announces Purchase of $110m Equity Stake in Cambodian Acleda Bank from International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), a Japanese financial services company, reportedly announced plans to purchase a 12.25-percent equity stake consisting of approximately 27.6 million shares in Acleda Bank (Acleda), a Cambodian commercial bank, for a total cost of USD 110 million. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Group to Provide Funding of $42m to Lao People’s Democratic Republic to Support Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), Hydropower and Mining Sectors

The World Bank Group (WBG), a group of five multilateral organizations that invest in developing countries, recently approved plans to disburse a total of USD 42 million to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the hydropower and mining sectors of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lok Capital, Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Bellwether Microfinance Fund Exit Janalakshmi Financial Services of India

Lok Capital, a Mauritius-based venture capital fund; the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, a US-based philanthropic organization that seeks to improve the lives of poor urban residents in India, South Africa and the US; and the Bellwether Microfinance Fund, an Indian investor of equity and in start-up and medium-sized businesses, reportedly have exited their private equity investments in Janalakshmi Financial Services (JFS), a Bangalore-based microfinance institution (MFI). Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Myanmar: Demand, Supply, Policy and Regulation;” by Doubell Chamberlain et al; published by the Centre for Financial Regulation & Inclusion (CENFRI)

“Myanmar: Demand, Supply, Policy and Regulation;” by Doubell Chamberlain, Hennie Bester, Herman Smit, Christiaan Loots, Shirley Mburu, Ahmed Dermish, Lara Gidvani and David Saunders; published as a Making Access Possible (MAP) Study Synthesis Note by the Centre for Financial Regulation & Inclusion (CENFRI); 2014; 41 pages; available at     http://cenfri.org/documents/MAP/2014/MAP%20Myanmar%20Synthesis%20Note.pdf

This document covers an assessment of the retail financial services market in Myanmar as performed by the Making Access Possible (MAP) program, which was developed by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to support global financial inclusion. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to Encourage Banks to Deploy Rural Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), Use Unclaimed Funds for Financial Education

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking authority, reportedly has initiated a program under which banks are requested to install an unspecified number of automatic teller machines (ATMs) in rural areas that will dispense bank notes in relatively small denominations. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to Revise Microinsurance Product Structure in Effort to Encourage Growth of Industry

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the government agency charged with overseeing India’s insurance market, reportedly is set to release revised guidelines on the structure and features of microinsurance products in order to allow insurance companies to incentivize third-party institutions to sell the products. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) of Taiwan Encourages Banks to Reduce Microcredit Transaction Fees

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) of Taiwan, the government agency charged with regulating the island’s insurance and banking sectors, reportedly has encouraged banks to reduce the fees they charge on microcredit loans in Taiwan. Continue reading

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