MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Smart Campaign Launches Certification of Microfinance Institutions Regarding Client Protection

The Smart Campaign, a consumer-protection initiative launched in 2010 by US-based nonprofit Accion, recently released a Client Protection Certification Program that aims to verify that financial institutions serving the world’s poor people are focused on the fair treatment of clients.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Calls for Submissions for its Universal Standards Resource Library: Treat Employees Responsibly

The Social Performance Task Force (SPTF), a working group initiated in 2005 by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor), the Argidius Foundation and the Ford Foundation, is seeking submissions for its online Universal Standards Resource Library.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroFinance Transparency, Pakistan Microfinance Network Partner to Collect, Publish Microloan Pricing Data

MicroFinance Transparency (MFTransparency), a US-based nongovernmental organization that provides information on microcredit products and their prices, is partnering with Pakistan Microfinance Network (PMN), a network of 29 microfinance providers in Pakistan, to publish pricing data on loans offered by microfinance institutions in Pakistan.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) Among Banks Requiring Third-Party Assessment of Codes of Conduct from Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) Seeking Wholesale Loans

A group of lenders headed by the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), a state-owned bank, have made it compulsory for microfinance institutions (MFIs) in the country to undergo third-party assessments of their codes of conduct in order to receive loans.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Estimate: 90% of Nigerian Microfinance Clients Commit Fraud to Obtain Loans

The National Association of Microfinance Banks (NAMB) South West Zone, a chapter of Nigerian trade group NAMB, recently hosted a capacity building program on combatting fraud and forgery committed by staff and management of microfinance banks (MFBs).

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: African Development Bank (AfDB) Microfinance Capacity Building Fund (MCBF) Offering up to $500k per Institution

The African Development Bank (AfDB), a multilateral institution that provides loans and grants to governments and private companies in Africa, recently announced its second call for proposals for the Microfinance Capacity Building Fund (MCBF), which was launched by AfDB and the government of Spain to expand the outreach of the African financial sector.

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.

SPECIAL REPORT: Panel: Seeking Diversification, Microfinance Investors Often Reap Annual Returns of 4%

On Friday, November 16 at European Microfinance Week, a conference hosted by the Luxembourg-based European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Sebastian von Stauffenberg, the CEO of US-based microfinance rating agency MicroRate, said of the larger investment community, “People outside of our microfinance bubble speak another language – if we don’t speak their language, the whole trickle-down effect [of increased investment in microfinance] does not occur.” Mr von Stauffenberg was speaking as part of a panel on microfinance investment that also included Sebastien Juhen of Swiss microfinance investor BlueOrchard Finance, who said that microfinance investment vehicles (MIVs) should work to improve their communication to investors regarding the risks of investing in microfinance including how investment managers address these risks.

SPECIAL REPORT: Responsible Microfinance Implementation Action Group Looks to Boost Usage of Existing Tools, Distributes Template of Covenants for Investors to Attach to Loans to Microbanks

At the European Microfinance Week conference today in Luxembourg, representatives of the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) Action Group on the Implementation of Responsible Microfinance led a discussion on its work. The group presented graphics compiling existing social performance tools such as social audits and the publication of pricing data via the US-based nonprofit Microfinance Transparency. One of the suggested steps for microbanks embarking on the process of evaluating its social performance is to make a public commitment through an effort such as the Smart Campaign, which is backed by US-based nonprofit Accion, or the Global Appeal for Responsible Microfinance, which is promoted by a set of institutions led by Oxus Group, an initiative of French NGO Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED).

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.”

MICROCAPITAL MONITOR: September Issue of Microfinance Newspaper Published

Do you know that MicroCapital publishes a monthly newspaper on microfinance? The September MicroCapital Monitor has a dozen pages of news, events and research summaries as well as a report on microfinance networks from development finance expert Barbara Magnoni of EA Consultants. There is no fee to receive the free, abbreviated edition of the Monitor, and we would love to send you a complimentary sample of the paid edition. Just drop us an email or call us at +1 617 648 0043.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Bank Releases Government Electronic Payment Program Guidelines

The World Bank Group, a US-based institution whose aim is to reduce poverty, recently released a report titled “General Guidelines for the Development of Government Payment Programs” that aims to assist governments and other stakeholders in developing efficient electronic government-payment systems.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MFTransparency Partners with Planet Rating, Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) of India to Improve Pricing Transparency

MFTransparency, a US-based nongovernmental organization (NGO), recently partnered with Planet Rating, a microfinance rating agency that is a member of the France-based PlaNet Finance Group, and Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), a trade association of microlenders in India.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Multilateral Investment Fund Places $5m in Equity in Fund for Mexican SMEs

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), an autonomous fund that was founded in 1993 by the US-based Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has made a USD 5 million equity investment in Mexico Development Fund I (MDF-I), a venture capital fund focused on small and medium-sized Mexican businesses providing education, financial or retail services. MDF-I is managed by PC Capital Partners, a financial services firm based in Mexico. 

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Nigerian Stock Exchange Lists Fortis Microfinance Bank with Market Capitalization of $50m

Fortis Microfinance Bank, headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria, has joined the Nigerian Stock Exchange, increasing the exchange’s market capitalization by NGN 8.15 billion (USD 50.8 million). 

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Amid Concerns of a Bubble In Kyrgyzstan, 94 Microfinance Institutions Are Shut Down, 31% of Borrowers Owe Multiple Loans

According to a quote attributed to Fatima Eshimbekova of the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), MFIs in Kyrgyzstan have doubled their aggregate loan portfolio since 2010.