Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepalese Microfinance Institutions Invest in Nepal Fintech to Develop MIS Software

A group of Nepalese microfinance organizations is investing in Nepal Finsoft Limited, an information technology (IT) company based in Kathmandu, to develop a banking management information system (MIS) the thirty-four institutions hope will provide them with “increased efficiency and capacity to serve clients [and] lower overall costs of the infrastructure shared by all participating financial institutions.”
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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s RBL Bank Acquires 10% Equity Stake in Utkarsh Micro Finance

RBL Bank Limited, an institution formerly known as Ratnakar Bank Limited (RBL) that is headquartered in the Indian state of Maharashtra, recently announced its plan to buy a 9.99-percent stake in Utkarsh Micro Finance, a non-banking financial institution based in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: CGAP, Citi Foundation Launch Digital Financial Inclusion Policy Program in China, Indonesia, Philippines

CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), a US-based, nonprofit research center that aims to facilitate the expansion of financial access, and the Citi Foundation, the charitable arm of US-based financial services firm Citigroup, recently launched the “East Asia Digital Financial Inclusion Program”. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Asian Development Bank, Citigroup to Facilitate Up to $100m in Local Currency Loans for MFIs in Asia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), a 67-member development finance institution headquartered in the Philippines, and Citigroup, a financial services corporation based in the US city of New York, recently announced the intention to facilitate up to USD 100 million in local-currency loans for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Asia under the Microfinance Risk Participation and Guarantee Program. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Government of Canada to Invest $6m in Afghanistan’s Zardozi to Support Women’s Economic Empowerment

The government of Canada recently announced it will donate USD 5.9 million from 2016 to 2020 to Zazdozi, an Afghanistan-based NGO supporting women in establishing microenterprises. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bangladeshi Farmers to Receive Microloans via Credit Cards Arranged by CARE Bangladesh, DAM, mPower, USAID

The Agricultural Extension Support Activity (AESA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which is implemented by the Bangladesh-based nonprofit Dhaka Ahsania Mission (DAM), is piloting an initiative to provide smallholder farmers with loans via bank cards. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Kotak Mahindra Bank Buying BSS Microfinance for $21m

Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB), a private-sector Indian bank, recently announced plans to acquire BSS Microfinance, a Karnataka-based non-banking financial company run by the Bharatha Swamukthi Samsthe (BSS) Trust, for INR 1.4 billion (USD 21 million) Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microfinance Institution Equitas Begins Accepting Deposits in Chennai, India, With Interest Rates Starting at 6%

Equitas Small Finance Bank Limited, a subsidiary of India’s Equitas Holdings Limited, recently began operations with three branches in Chennai, offering deposit accounts with interest rates of six to 7.5 percent per year. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Dual Return Funds Managed by C-Quadrat Loan $17m to Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines

Austria-based C-Quadrat Asset Management recently issued loans worth the equivalent of USD 17 million to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Costa Rica, Ghana, India, Kenya, Mexico, Peru and the Philippines. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Indian Banks Deceptively Reduce Number of Zero-Balance Accounts Under Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana Financial Inclusion Effort

Although the proportion of zero-balance bank accounts opened under India’s Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) program was reduced from 76 percent in January 2015 to 24 percent as of September 2016, it recently has been reported that this is not due to customer deposits. Continue reading


SPECIAL REPORT: Rajnish Dhall of Micro Housing Finance Corporation, Mark van Doesburgh of Triple Jump Preview European Microfinance Week Session on Micromortgages, More

MicroCapital: How does housing finance differ from traditional microfinance?

Rajnish Dhall: In India, traditional microloans usually are: (1) sized less than USD 1,000; (2) targeted for productive assets; (3) priced at around 22 percent per year; (4) repaid within less than a year or two; and (5) carry a group guarantee in lieu of collateral. In contrast, the micromortgages that Micro Housing Finance Corporation (MHFC) offers first-time homebuyers: (1) average about USD 8,000 in size; (2) carry interest rates of about 12.5 percent per year; (3) usually have a term of 15 years; (4) are individual rather than group-based; and (5) most importantly, are secured with the home as collateral. While the audience is quite similar, the products are almost at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Mark van Doesburgh: The MicroBuild Fund (MBF) we manage for Habitat for Humanity Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Thailand’s Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri) Acquires Cambodian Microfinance Institution Hattha Kaksekar Limited (KHL)

The Bank of Ayudhya (Krungsri), a Thailand-based subsidiary of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, recently acquired 100-percent interest in Hattha Kaksekar Limited (KHL), a microfinance institution (MFI) based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Continue reading


MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: BlueOrchard Launches $120m Japan ASEAN Women Empowerment Fund to Invest in Southeast Asian Microfinance Institutions

BlueOrchard Finance, a Switzerland-based commercial manager of “impact” investments, recently announced the launch of its Japan Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Women Empowerment Fund, which plans to invest USD 120 million in microfinance institutions (MFIs) focused on lending to female micro- and small-scale entrepreneurs in ASEAN countries. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Role of Impact Investing in Achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals; Microfinance Investment Vehicle Survey; Lessons from Tanzania’s Digitization Efforts

“Achieving The Sustainable Development Goals: The Role of Impact Investing;” published by The Global Impact Investing Network; September 12, 2016; 9 pages; available at

This report profiles impact investors that have leveraged the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the following purposes: (1) as a framework to communicate their social impact goals; (2) to develop new or realign existing investment strategies and; (3) to attract capital from private investors that are new to impact investing. Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises’ (MSMEs’) Access to Finance in a Digital Finance Era, October 19-20, 2016, Tokyo, Japan

Event Name: Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises’ (MSMEs’) Access to Finance in a Digital Finance Era

Event Dates: October 19-20, 2016

Event Location: Asian Development Bank Institution, Tokyo, Japan  Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: International Microinsurance Conference, November 15-17, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Event Name: 12th International Microinsurance Conference

Event Date: November 15-17, 2016

Event Location: Cinnamon Grand Hotel, 77, Galle Road; Colombo 03, Sri Lanka Continue reading


MICROFINANCE EVENT: Executive Forum: Financial Inclusion and Islamic Finance, November 16-17, 2016, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Event Name: Financial Inclusion and Islamic Finance

Event Dates: November 16-17, 2016

Event Location: Sasana Kijang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Continue reading