Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Caterpillar Foundation Donates $19m to Opportunity International to Reach 17m People in Africa, Asia and Latin America

Opportunity International, a US-based nonprofit organization that provides financial services to poor people in 24 countries, recently announced that Caterpillar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of US-based equipment manufacturer Caterpillar Inc., has granted Opportunity two multi-year donations totaling USD 19.2 million [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Indian Microlenders Seek More Time to Repay Funds On-Lent in Andhra Pradesh, Where Microlender Sees “No Improvement At All”

Wholesale loans covering INR 55 billion (USD 944 million) in Indian microloans reportedly are at risk of becoming classified as “non-performing assets” (NPAs) if microfinance institutions (MFIs) do not begin making payments on the loans before the expiration of a 90-day repayment window that begins on June 30, 2013. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Philippines Allows Foreign Investors to Hold Stakes of up to 60% in Rural Banks

Philippine President Benigno Aquino reportedly has signed a law, entitled “An Act Allowing the Infusion of Foreign Equity in the Capital of Rural Banks,” that will allow foreign investors to own as much as 60 percent of the voting stock in Philippine “rural banks,” which are sponsored by the government of the Philippines for the purpose of promoting economic development in rural areas. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Becomes Majority Shareholder of Kashf Microfinance Bank of Pakistan with $8.4m Investment

Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL), a Pakistan-based microfinance bank (MFB), recently announced an equity injection of PKR 824.7 million (USD 8.4 million) from FINCA Microfinance Coöperatief U.A., a Netherlands-based entity controlled by US-based NGO FINCA International. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives, Habitat for Humanity Thailand, Citi Foundation Launch “Microsavings Program for Home Improvement”

Executive Vice President Somsak Kangteerawat of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), a government-owned bank in Thailand that extends credit to farmers, and Board Chairman Piriyah Wisedjinda of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Thailand, a branch of the US-based NGO HFH International, have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the “Microsavings Program for Home Improvement”, which is intended to support home improvements for low-income families living in areas of Thailand that are prone to flooding. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gemalto Provides Biometric Smart Cards for “Prime Cash” Branchless Banking in Bangladesh

Gemalto, a digital security company based in the Netherlands, has developed a smart card-based system for two Bangladeshi businesses: Prime Bank Limited, a commercial bank founded in 1995, and Dipon Consultancy Services Limited (DCSL), a member of the Bangladesh-based conglomerate Dipon Group. The system will support the branchless banking service known as Prime Cash, which was established by the two firms in 2012. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL EVENT: 4th Pacific Microfinance Week 2013: Microfinance in the Pacific – Increasing Access, Enhancing Impact, October 21-25, 2013, Nadi, Fiji

Event Name: 4th Pacific Microfinance Week (PMW) 2013: Microfinance in the Pacific – Increasing Access, Enhancing Impact

Event Date: October 21-25, 2013

Event Location: Sheraton Fiji Resort, Nadi, Denarau Island, Viti Levu Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India Raises Interest Margin Cap to 12% for Larger Microfinance Institutions

For non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) of all sizes, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking institution, recently set the margin cap, the difference between the amount charged to the borrower and the institution’s cost of funds at 12 percent at least until April 1, 2014 [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) of India Proposes Microinsurance Firms Provide Maturity Benefit Policies to Boost Sales

In an effort to boost sales of microinsurance in India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the country’s regulatory body for the insurance industry, reportedly has proposed that microinsurance firms offer policies with maturity benefits [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australia Donates $6m to Laos-Focused “Making Access to Finance More Inclusive for Poor People” Programme of the United Nations

The government of Australia has committed a donation of USD 6.15 million to support the United Nations Development Cooperation Forum (UNDCF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in their joint programme titled “Making Access to Finance More Inclusive for Poor People” (MAFIPP), which is implemented by the Bank of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (BLPDR), the central bank of Laos, with the aim of improving poor rural household access to a variety of financial services. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Ahon sa Hirap Incorporated, Philippine Social Security System to Expand Coverage to 25,000 Women Entrepreneurs

The Social Security System (SSS), the Philippines’ state-owned pension fund for private sector employees, reportedly has announced a new agreement with Philippines-based microfinance institution (MFI) Ahon Sa Hirap Incorporated (ASHI) to expand SSS coverage to 25,000 female ASHI borrowers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nine Indian Impact Investment Companies Forming “Indian Impact Investor Council”

Nine companies that specialize in impact investment reportedly will be establishing the “Indian Impact Investor Council” (IIIC) to establish guidelines helping investment companies in India regulate their efforts to meet social goals. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: State Bank of Pakistan’s Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small, Rural Businesses Extends Loan Repayment Term to 5 Years

The State Bank of Pakistan’s (SBP’s) Credit Guarantee Scheme for Small and Rural Businesses (CGS), which aims to increase financing to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in rural areas via retail banks, reportedly will extend client loan terms from three years to five years in an effort to increase economic opportunities by facilitating the purchase of tractors and other agricultural tools. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PUBLICATION ROUND-UP: Savings Groups in Rural Mali, Three Market Archetypes Advancing Financial Inclusion, Long-term Trends in India’s Rural Credit Market

“Final Impact Evaluation of the Savings for Change Program in Mali;” by Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA); published by Oxfam America and Freedom from Hunger; April 2013; 215 pages; available at http://www.oxfamamerica.org/issues/community-finance/files/final-impact-evaluation-saving-for-change

This report presents the results from a study conducted by The University of Arizona and Innovations for Poverty (IPA) between 2009 and 2012 intended to explore the impact of savings groups in 500 villages in rural Mali, where 82 percent of surveyed households live on approximately USD 1.25 per day and the “typical village is more than 14 miles from a paved road.” Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Indonesia Releases “Guiding Principles” for Branchless Banking Trial; Indosat, Telkomsel, PT XL Axiata to Offer Money Transfers for $0.21

Bank Indonesia, the country’s central bank, recently issued “guiding principles” for upcoming tests of a banking and payment system through existing Financial Services Intermediary Units (FSIU), registered third-party services which facilitate the provision of non-conventional banking services. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF) Loans $370k to Microfinance Institution Chamroeun of Cambodia

The Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), a Luxembourg-based nonprofit that provides financial services to microfinance institutions, recently notified MicroCapital that it approved a three-year, local-currency loan equivalent to approximately USD 370,000 to Chamroeun, a Cambodian microfinance institution. Continue reading

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