Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Thailand’s Group Lease Acquires 30% Equity Stake in Sri Lanka’s Commercial Credit and Finance (CCF) for $70m

Group Lease Public Company Limited, which is listed on the Thailand Stock Exchange, recently acquired a 29.99-percent stake in Commercial Credit and Finance (CCF), which is traded on Sri Lanka’s Colombo Stock Exchange, for LKR 10.6 billion (USD 70 million). Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microbank LOLC (Cambodia) Authorized to Offer Leasing Services

LOLC (Cambodia) Plc, a microfinance institution (MFI) that is 60-percent owned by LOLC Micro Investment of Sri Lanka, recently received approval from the National Bank of Cambodia to offer leasing services. It is reportedly the first MFI to gain such permission. Beginning in March, LOLC (Cambodia) expects to offer both businesses and Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: India’s Muthoot Raises $20m in Equity from Creation Investments Amidst Plans to Open 500 New Microfinance Branches

Creation Investments Capital Management, a US-based alternative investment company, recently announced that it has placed an equity investment of USD 20 million in Muthoot Microfin Limited, a unit of Indian conglomerate Muthoot Pappachan Group. Muthoot Microfin Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FMO Provides $6m Local-currency Loan to Sanasa Development Bank of Sri Lanka for SME Lending

Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), a Dutch development bank, recently announced that it has provided a local-currency loan equivalent to USD 6 million to Sanasa Development Bank PLC (SDB bank), which provides leasing, credit, deposit Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Asian University for Women Expanding on Partnerships with Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, BRAC Afghanistan

Asian University for Women (AUW), which was created in 2008 in Chittagong, Bangladesh, is in the process of bringing on additional partners through which it will recruit bachelor’s degree candidates from low-income regions of Asia and the Middle East. The mission of AUW is to offer talented young women from families with minimal educational and financial resources the opportunity to earn an undergraduate Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepal Sets Microloan Interest Rate Maximum of 18%

The Nepalese central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank, reportedly has capped microloan rates at 18 percent per year following complaints of microfinance institutions (MFIs) “distributing high dividends by charging borrowers, who are often poor people in rural areas, exorbitant rates…as high as 30 percent.” This follows the declaration of Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Loan $63m to Various MFIs

Austria’s C-Quadrat Asset Management informed MicroCapital today that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Vision Microfinance-Local Currency funds loaned a total approximately equivalent to USD 63.5 million during December to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in countries including Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Mongolia and Sri Lanka. The Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Recommendations from the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, Ms. Claire Van der Vaeren, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Cambodia, said that financial inclusion is a vital enabler that can help unlock the potential of the poor and underserved, enhance women’s economic empowerment and catalyse a range of national development objectives. Its importance is shown in references to six of the seventeen UN sustainable development goals.

Ms. Van der Vaeren also was impressed by level of private and public engagement in Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Lessons on IPOs from Indian MFIs; Growth In Impact Investing; 10-Year Survey of Microfinance Investment Vehicles

“How to IPO Successfully and Responsibly: Lessons From Indian Financial Inclusion Institutions”; by Anna Kanze; published by the Center for Financial Inclusion (CFI) at Accion; Fall 2016; 25 pages; available at: http://www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org/storage/documents/How_to_IPO_Final.pdf

This report draws upon two recent initial public offerings (IPOs) in the financial inclusion industry – those of Equitas and Ujjivan, both microfinance lenders in India – to make the case that institutions can use IPOs to strengthen their capital base while remaining committed to their social missions. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Accelerating Financial Inclusion in the Mekong through Collaboration

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, MFIs and funders led this session’s discussion of collaboration. Kelly Hattel, Financial Sector Specialist for the Asian Development Bank, underscored “the importance of having national strategies for financial inclusion and having them be evidence-based. These are important…both as a donor individually and for Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Stimulating the Uptake and Impact of Remittances in Southeast Asia through Technology

AtBanking With the Poor Network the 2016 Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum, Ron Bevacqua, Managing Director of ACCESS Advisory, asked what gaps in local payment systems can be closed by digital services. Juanita Woodward, Singapore Country Director at WorldRemit, said “I think we are at a tipping point with Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Welcome Financial Group Acquires, Renames Green Central Microfinance of Cambodia

South Korea’s Welcome Financial Group (WFG) recently rebranded Cambodia’s Green Central Microfinance Limited as Welcome Finance (Cambodia). WFG closed its acquisition of the microlender after receiving central bank approval for the transaction in April. While the purchase price and the identity of the seller are not available, Green Central was held by Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Realizing Potential and Minimizing Risk through Client Protection and Developing Financial Capability in Southeast Asia

ABanking With the Poor Network diverse set of panelists at this session of the Mekong Financial Inclusion Forum agreed that providing financial education can be expensive and yet often fails to produce measurable outcomes. Jayshree Venkatesan, a financial inclusion consultant, stated that “results from financial literacy campaigns are at best mixed.” Shane Nichols, Program Director for Good Return, said that the rise of randomized controlled trials has helped his organization discover that although “we used to do pre- and post-tests showing people gained knowledge…sustained behavior-change was virtually non-existent.”

Ms. Venkatesan explained that “there are a number of things that limit these efforts. They cost a lot of money. Most of these tend to be Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food; February 16, 2017; Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Event Name: Geodata for Inclusive Finance and Food

Event Date: February 16, 2017

Event Location: Hulstkamp Gebouw, Maaskade 116, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Cost: This event is open by invitation only.

Summary of Event: This event will address how “geodata” can be used to expand inclusive finance and food security. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UN’s Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) Provides $10m to The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX) to Subsidize Third-party Lending in Local Currency to Microfinance Institutions in Myanmar

The Currency Exchange Fund (TCX), which is based in the Netherlands, recently raised USD 10 million from the UN-managed Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT) to reduce the cost of foreign-exchange hedging for “impact lenders” funding microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Myanmar. TCX provides this hedging service, absorbing the currency-exchange risk on the loans, so the lenders can commit US dollars while the MFIs access funding denominated in kyat. Via multiple microloan repayment cycles over three years, the MFIs are expected to gain sufficient liquidity from the LIFT-supported facility to fund Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: C-Quadrat’s Dual Return Vision Microfinance Funds Loan $22m in Burkina Faso, China, Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay, Sri Lanka

Austria’s C-Quadrat Asset Management informed MicroCapital today that its Dual Return Vision Microfinance and Dual Return Vision Microfinance-Local Currency funds loaned a total approximately equivalent to USD 22 million during November to unspecified microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: The Place of MFIs in the Financial Inclusion Ecosystem of the Mekong Region

TheBanking With the Poor Network roles of MFIs in financial systems vary significantly from country to country, even within the Mekong region. Somphone Sisenglath, Managing Director of Ekphatthana Microfinance Institution, described the Lao industry as “very young,” with the median MFI just three years old. Most MFIs operate in the capital, Vientiane, while 80 percent of the population is rural. Since it often takes an hour to travel between villages, it is very expensive Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE EVENT: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit, Hanoi, Vietnam, March 21-22, 2017

Event Name: Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit

Event Date: March 21-22, 2017; optional field visits on March 23, 2017

Event Location: JW Marriott Hotel, Hanoi, Vietnam

Event Summary: Themed “Advancing Financial Inclusion in a Digital Age,” this event will include plenaries on topics such as collaboration and regulating digital financial services. Breakout sessions will address topics such as blockchain technology, gender, serving youth and reaching “the last mile.” On March 23, participants may visit with staff and clients of either Tinh Thuong Microfinance Institution or Continue reading

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