Category: South Asia, East Asia and Pacific

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Smart Communications to Launch Mobile Microfinance Service Provider mBank Philippines

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), a wireless service provider and subsidiary of the publicly-traded Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), will be launching mBank Philippines, which is billed as the country’s first microfinance bank to offer all of its services only via a mobile platform. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, World Bank’s FIRST Initiative Report: Life, Health Microinsurance Market Demand is 35m Policies

At a recent “Roundtable on Microinsurance” held in Karachi, Pakistan, the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), in concert with the Financial Sector Reform and Strengthening (FIRST) Initiative, a program of the World Bank that funds technical assistance for financial sectors in low- and middle-income countries, released a diagnostic report on the demand for and supply of microinsurance in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Waseela, Mobilink Partner to Offer Branchless Banking in Pakistan

Waseela Microfinance Bank Limited (WMBL), subsidiary of Egypt-based telecommunications company Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), and Mobilink, an Islamabad-based cellular service provider managed by OTH, recently received approval from the State Bank of Pakistan to offer branchless banking in the country. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SKS Microfinance of India Announces $36m Securitization Under Amended Reserve Bank of India Guidelines

SKS Microfinance, an Indian microfinance institution (MFI), reportedly has announced its first microfinance securitization of INR 2 billion (USD 36.4 million) since the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking authority, revised the guidelines for securitizations issued by non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) in August 2012. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF) Loans $989k to WAGES of Togo, $445k to Azeri Star of Azerbaijan, $153k to Berendina Microfinance of Sri Lanka

Grameen Credit Agricole Microfinance Foundation (GCAMF), an organization that provides funding and financial services to microfinance institutions (MFIs) and social business projects, recently issued an AZN 350,000 (USD 445,000) loan to Azeri Star, an Azerbaijani MFI. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Peru, Bolivia, Pakistan Top 2012 Global Microscope on Microfinance Business Environment

According to the Global Microscope on the Microfinance Business Environment 2012, a recent report by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), Peru is the top country in microfinance for the fifth consecutive year due to its strong regulatory environment. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India Asks Rural Banks to Open 25 Percent of New Branches in Unbanked Areas

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s financial regulatory authority, recently tasked regional rural banks (RRBs) to ensure that at least one-quarter of their proposed branches are sited in unbanked parts of the country.  Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Incorporated (ASKI) of the Philippines Takes $127k European Microfinance Award for Innovation in Food Security

The fourth European Microfinance Award, which focused this year on food security, has been awarded to Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Incorporated (ASKI) of the Philippines for its work serving people in rural areas with traditional financial services as well as community development efforts. Executive Director Rolando Victoria of ASKI, who is pictured at the right, stated that, “The motivation at the time [of our founding] was credit…. Now we were able to install a hanging bridge…linking farmers to markets.” Another way that ASKI has assisted its clients is by linking groups of customers with major buyers. A signature achievement was working with government partners to connect small-scale growers of onions and cassava with fast-food restaurant chain Jollibee Foods Corporation, which reported sales of PHP 44 billion (USD 1 billion) during the year ending June 2012. Mr Victoria reported that one of the challenges ASKI had to overcome was convincing farmers of the value of having a guaranteed customer with a price set in advance, even if market prices might turn out to be higher after the harvest. The award was presented as part of European Microfinance Week, which closes in Luxembourg on November 16. Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: Sanjay Sinha of M-CRIL Calls Overexuberant Growth “Recipe for Disaster” at European Microfinance Week Opening

This morning, following a day of member meetings, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) opened its eighth European Microfinance Week, which is themed “Combining Strength, Delivering Results” and aims to address the loss of confidence in many circles that microfinance benefits poor people. In the opening plenary session, Sanjay Sinha, managing director of India’s Micro Credit Rating International Limited (M-CRIL), said that, “Moderate growth is good for inclusion. Rampant growth, which is what we had for a long time in India, is a recipe for disaster…. In order to reduce growth, we need to temper the egos of the promoters of microfinance institutions (MFIs). And we all know we need to dampen the expectations of investors – I’m talking mainly of the Indian commercial banking sector.” Continue reading

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SPECIAL REPORT: European Microfinance Platform Remittances Action Group, GIZ, PHB Development Release Handbook: “Financial Literacy for Remittances and Diaspora Investments”

This afternoon, the Remittances Action Group of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) met to share member experiences, plan future action steps and announce the release of the “Financial Literacy for Remittances and Diaspora Investments” handbook. The document, which is the first of three planned outputs to be completed by the group, was published by German bilateral development agency GIZ, with participation from PHB Development, a Belgium-based consulting firm, and e-MFP, which is a Luxembourg-based membership organization. As the handbook was released as a compact disc and on paper, it is not available online other than via the above link as of today. Details on the other proceedings of the meeting, such as the other planned outputs of the Remittance Action Group and news from action group members, are slated for publication by MicroCapital in a separate brief. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Lends $70m to Garanti Bank of Turkey, Hipotekarna Banka of Montenegro, Bai Tushum of Kyrgyz Republic

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a development finance institution based in London, recently extended a USD 60 million credit line to Garanti Bank, a Turkish private bank, to develop small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) owned by women. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Private Equity Firms Investing in Indian Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) After Two-Year Hiatus

Private equity firms are beginning to invest in Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs) that offer products such as insurance, pension plans and chit funds in order to diversify their portfolios. It is reported that private equity firms have invested INR 7.5 billion (USD 138 million) in Indian MFIs this year, as compared to INR 2.5 billion (USD 46 million) invested in 2011. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Commits Technical Assistance To Indian Credit Bureau, High Mark

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private investment arm of the World Bank Group, recently agreed to provide technical assistance to High Mark, an Indian credit bureau, in an effort to encourage microfinance lenders in India to use credit bureaus in assessing the repayment capacity of borrowers. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank Mandiri, Pos Indonesia Open Joint Microcredit-Postal Branch in East Java

Bank Mandiri, a government-owned provider of financial services to private and state-owned businesses as well as individuals and microentrepreneurs, recently opened its first office in Sidoarjo, East Java, as part of its partnership with Pos Indonesia, the national postal service. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Lack of Law and Order Causes Microfinance Institution (MFI) Ujjivan of India to Put Lending Operations on Hold in Parts of Bihar

Ujjivan Financial Services, a Bangalore-based microfinance institution (MFI), recently put its lending operations on hold in the districts Vaishali and Muzaffarpur in the Indian state of Bihar after an October attack on its customer relations officer, Achchhe Lal Prasad. Continue reading

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