In a press release Paris-based Planet Rating, a microfinance rating agency, announced a number of changes in its GIRAFE rating methodology. These changes take effect as of January 14, 2008 and adjust rating factor weightings and evaluation methods with regards to microfinance institution (MFI) governance, capital structure, market/financial risk, and profitability structure. Continue Reading »
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Obopay’s new Indian headquarters is headed by former Yes Bank CIO Aditya Menon Continue Reading »
NEWS WIRE: Indonesia & India: Biometrics Use Rising Among Asian Microfinance Institutions, Says BusinessWeek Wire Story
MICROCAPITAL STORY: Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB) to Offer Customers Access to One-Link ATMs Throughout Pakistan
Tameer Microfinance Bank (TMFB), a commercial microfinance bank in Pakistan, has signed an agreement with One-Link, a Pakistani Automated Teller Machine (ATM) company, to enable TMFB customers to use 2,000 Onelink ATMs in 150 cities throughout Pakistan. The agreement was signed by President and CEO of TMFB Nadeem Hussain and CEO of Onelink Khayyam Mahmood Butt on behalf of their respective companies. Continue Reading »
IBM, a multinational computer technology corporation, recently announced in a press release that it plans to partner with CARE, a leading private international humanitarian organization, to jointly establish the Africa Financial Grid, an integrated data processing infrastructure that will curb costs currently incurred by microfinance institutions (MFIs) in providing financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa. Continue Reading »
Africa Financial Grid Aims To Help Alleviate Poverty and Promote Development in Sub-Saharan Region Continue Reading »
NEWS WIRE: Bangladesh: Cellphones and Solar Panels Distributed By Microfinance Institutions Facilitate Recovery From Cyclone Disaster
MICROCAPITAL STORY: CGAP Report on Branchless Banking in Kenya Cautiously Optimistic on Continued Innovations in Microfinance
The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) calls Kenya a world leader in fostering mobile phone banking and other ‘branchless’ banking services. The Government of Kenya and the Central Bank have shown a strong interest in branchless banking and have expressed their commitment to institute legal and regulatory changes that will support new technology-based products and services and enable increased outreach. Read more in “Notes on Regulation of Branchless Banking in Kenya“.
MICROCAPITAL STORY: Credit Unions in Ecuador Launch First International Shared Branching Network, Expand Global Microfinance Industry
World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), supported by CO-OP Shared Branching’s technology and partners from Colorado and Ecuador, successfully launched the first international shared branching network in Quito, Ecuador. The new network, called COONECTA, connects credit union members via direct transaction capabilities in the United States and Ecuador, providing the more than 2 million Ecuadorians living and working in the United States with affordable access to their credit union accounts back home, as well as offering U.S. visitors to Ecuador the same convenience. Continue Reading »
MICROCAPITAL STORY: Mifos, a Freely Available Open-source Management Information System for Microfinance Institutions
The New York Times recently published an article highlighting the Mifos Initiative; a microfinance-focused open-source software development community that is addressing the growing information management needs of microfinance institutions (MFIs) by engineering and distributing a freely available management information system (MIS). Their product, called Mifos, provides functionality that helps MFIs run efficiently and achieve scale in respect to data collection and management. MicroCapital first covered the Mifos framework in July 2005 while it was being developed in conjunction with a pilot credit bureau project in Morocco. Continue Reading »
MICROCAPITAL STORY: 3 Million More Rural People to Benefit from Smartcard Technology That Enables Microfinance in India
The Government of Andhra Pradesh in India has proposed to roll out Smartcard technology to a further 3 million rural people in 8 districts in the state, giving them access to a bank account for the first time. The Smartcard technology provides access to banking facilities for low-income groups in areas without existing financial services infrastructure. Continue Reading »
MICROCAPITAL FEATURE: The MicroPlace Launch: MicroCapital Talks to Tracey Pettengill Turner, Founder and General Manager of MicroPlace and Shari Berenbach, Executive Director of the Calvert Foundation, One of the First Microfinance Product Providers on the Site.
For all those involved in the microfinance industry it would have been well nigh on impossible to miss the launch of MicroPlace, eBay’s new online retail microfinance marketplace, in recent weeks in the media. Despite the company’s small-sounding name, the launch is big, and has the potential to substantially grow the capital-raising capabilities of the industry, as well as spread the word about microfinance to a much wider audience than currently exists.
In essence the launch takes three big steps all at once: it will market to over 100 million potential everyday investors via eBay; it will offer them the chance to invest in securities lending to microfinance institutions (MFIs) via the internet; and finally all of this will be completed under full investor compliance regulatory supervision. Continue Reading »
“The microfinance industry — bankers to the poor — faces a paradox of scale, growing large in some ways but remaining small in others,” says the New York Times. Continue Reading »
MICROCAPITAL STORY: iTunes, Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA) and Natalie Portman Team Up for ‘Big Change: Songs for FINCA’ Compilation, Proceeds to Benefit International Microfinance Organization FINCA
Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA), a digital distribution company for the independent music community and one of Fortune magazine’s 25 Breakout Companies of 2005, has collaborated with actress Natalie Portman (of ‘Star Wars’ and ‘V for Vendetta’ fame) to compile tracks for a 16-song benefit compilation called ‘Big Change: Songs for FINCA.’ The compilation is currently available for download at the iTunes Store for USD 7.99. This is the first-ever charity album offered by iTunes. Net proceeds will benefit the Village Banking Campaign, FINCA’s charitable fund raising campaign.
PRESS RELEASE: IBM Partners with Grameen Foundation to Expand Open-Source Microfinance Software Platform Mifos
Effort to expand Mifos functions to better serve broad array of microfinance institution (MFI) technology needs
MICROCAPITAL STORY: Vodafone and Safaricom’s Mobile Cash-Transfer System M-PESA Makes Microfinance Easy for a Growing Number of Kenyan Customers
A recent article in the Christian Science Monitor highlights the growing number of Kenyans using M-PESA, a cellphone to cellphone cash-transfer service. (The M is for “mobile” and pesa is “cash” in Swahili.) Launched earlier this year by Safaricom Limited, the largest cellphone provider in Kenya, M-PESA was developed by Vodafone Group Private Limited Corporation as part of their larger strategy to reach the bottom of the pyramid with new goods and services.
MICROCAPITAL STORY: ACCION International Gateway Microfinance Infrastructure Fund Invests in Rural Internet Service Provider United Villages
Through its Gateway Microfinance Infrastructure Fund (GMI), ACCION International, a private, nonprofit organization with 35 microfinance institution (MFI) partnerships worldwide, has announced an unspecified investment in United Villages, Inc., a rural Internet Service Provider which provides people in the developing economies a voicemail box, an email address, and Internet access for less than $1 per person. Continue Reading »