MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SKS Microfinance Fined $92k for Collecting Improper Fees as Agent of Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), the insurance regulator of India, recently issued Indian microfinance institution (MFI) SKS Microfinance a fine of INR 5 million (USD 91,800) for collecting corporate insurance agent fees beyond the premium price.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nepal Rastra Bank, Rural Microfinance Development Center, Center for Microfinance Nepal Urge Microlenders to Lower Interest Rates, Focus on “Deprived” Sectors

Representatives of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the country’s central bank; the Rural Microfinance Development Center (RMDC), an organization owned by Nepalese lenders that provides wholesale loans to microfinance institutions (MFIs); and the Center for Microfinance (CMF) Nepal, a nonprofit network dedicated to promoting the country’s microfinance industry, reportedly have urged MFIs to lower microloan interest rates, claiming that a desire for greater profits is hindering financial inclusion.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: SKS Microfinance May Challenge Andhra Pradesh Ruling in Supreme Court

In response to the February 2013 ruling from the High Court of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh that upheld the Andhra Pradesh Microfinance Institution Act, 2010, SKS Microfinance, an Indian for-profit microfinance institution, and other unspecified microlenders reportedly may challenge the decision in the Country’s Supreme Court.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) May Consider Raising Margin Cap on Microloans if MFIs Relinquish Priority-Sector Status

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, reportedly has refused to remove the 26-percent interest rate cap on loans disbursed by microfinance institutions (MFIs) or to alter margin caps for individual loans to borrowers, despite opposition from within the sector.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microlenders Affiliated with India’s Microfinance Institutions Network Boost Loan Disbursals by 22%, Gross Loan Portfolio by 9.2% from Previous Quarter

According to the Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), an association of Indian microfinance institutions (MFIs), 41 of its 47 member MFIs disbursed loans totaling INR 61.9 billion (USD 1.1 billion) in the October-December quarter of 2012, an increase of approximately 22 percent from the INR 50.9 billion (USD 926 million) during the previous quarter.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Security System (SSS) of the Philippines Extends Services through Partnership with the Center of Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Bank

The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) Bank, a non-governmental organization that provides lending and voluntary savings for poor and landless women in the Philippines, reportedly has partnered with the Social Security System (SSS) of the Philippines, a government-run social insurance program that provides retirement and health benefits, in an effort to extend the program’s outreach to workers in the Philippines’ informal sector.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Microinsurance Product Development for Microinsurance Providers;” by Michael J. McCord; published by Microfinance Centre, Microinsurance Centre, International Fund for Agricultural Development

By Michael J. McCord; published by the Microfinance Centre for Central and Eastern Europe and the New Independent States, the Microinsurance Centre and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD); 2012; 124 pages; available at: http://www.ifad.org/ruralfinance/wrmf/manual.pdf

In this manual, Mr. McCord proposes a “systematic new-product development process” for the microinsurance market.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Microloans up 38%, Microdeposits Up 144% in Cambodia

According to data attributed to the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA), a nongovernment organization established in 2004 to promote Cambodia’s microfinance sector, the value of microloans disbursed by its 32 members increased approximately 38 percent to USD 890 million and total deposits increased 144 percent to USD 280 million from 2011 to 2012.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada of Nepal Rastra Bank Cites Multiple Lending and Low Outreach to Poor People by Microfinance Sector

Governor Yuba Raj Khatiwada of the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central banking authority of the country, reportedly expressed concern that “the growing tendency of lending money to people who have already taken a loan from other financial institutions might expose the microfinance sector to risk.”

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: High Court of Indian State of Andhra Pradesh Upholds Microfinance State Law, Rejecting Microlenders’ Petitions

The High Court of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh reportedly ruled to uphold the Andhra Pradesh Microfinance Institutions (Regulation of Money Lending) Act, 2010, despite petitions brought by Indian microlender SKS Microfinance and other microfinance institutions (MFIs) seeking to have the law repealed.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 4,700 Attend Westpac Financial Literacy Workshops in Fiji During December 2012

Westpac Banking Corporation, a multinational financial services group based in Australia, reportedly has announced that approximately 4,700 Fijians attended its financial literacy workshops in December 2012.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: 31,000 Apply to Malaysian Government’s Interest-free Microcredit Program in First Phase

Malaysia’s Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry (MDTCC) reportedly has announced that for the month of January 2013 approximately 31,000 hawkers and small traders had applied to borrow MYR 9.71 million (USD 3.14 million) through the government’s new microcredit scheme.

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Microfinance in Myanmar Sector Assessment”; by Eric Duflos, Paul Luchtenburg, Li Ren and Li Yan Chen; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), International Finance Corporation

By Eric Duflos, Paul Luchtenburg, Li Ren and Li Yan Chen, published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and International Finance Corporation, January 2013, 43 pages, available at:  http://www1.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/d87bf8804e5aba9bad7dadfce4951bf6/Microfinance+in+Myanmar+Sector+Assessment-Final.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

This joint CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) report reviews the current state of Myanmar’s microfinance sector and the challenges involved with its future development.