Category: Trends/Challenges

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Banking on Microfinance” Conference in Egypt, Organized by Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo, Underscores “For-Profit vs. Non-Profit” Debate

The recent “Banking on Microfinance” conference, organized by Italy-based Intesa Sanpaolo, underscored the “for-profit vs. non-profit” debate in the microfinance industry. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: UnityKapital Assurance Plc of Nigeria Announces Information Technology Development, Expansion into Microinsurance

UnityKapital Assurance Plc, a Nigerian insurance company with a recorded NGN 518 million (USD 3.47 million) profit after tax in 2008, has announced the deployment of a comprehensive information technology (IT) system and an expansion into newer areas of insurance, including Islamic insurance and microinsurance. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Critics Accuse Smile Microcredit Foundation of Heavy-Handed Regulation, Stifling Access to Microfinance in Korea

Despite the increase in microcredit financing in South Korea, many analysts warn that low-income individuals may be unable to access small loans due to various rules and requirements. A case example is the owner of a small clothing shop in Jegi-dong, Seoul who was unable to receive a loan of KRW 40 million (USD 33,700) from Woori Microcredit Bank, a subsidiary of Woori Financial Group and an affiliate of the “Smile Microcredit Foundation,”  a government-led microcredit lending program in Korea. [4] The woman failed to meet a requirement stipulating that business owners must have run his or her shop for at least two years to be eligible for microcredit. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL PAPER WRAP-UP: Scenarios for Branchless Banking in 2020, by Mark Pickens, David Porteous, and Sarah Rotman

Written by Mark Pickens, David Porteous, and Sarah Rotman, published by CGAP (Consultive Group to Assist the Poor) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in November 2009, 28 pages, available at: http://www.cgap.org/gm/document-1.9.40599/FN57.pdf

For this paper, CGAP (Consultive Group to Assist the Poor) and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) consulted 200 experts from more than 30 countries to ask “How can government and private sector most affect the uptake and usage of branchless banking among the unserved majority by 2020?” To answer this, the study identifies four important forces that seem poised to effect branchless banking: Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Extends $5m Local Currency Credit Line to Microinvest to Boost Microfinance Industry in Moldova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has extended an MDL 62.7 million (USD 5 million) local currency credit line to Microinvest of Moldova for on-lending to micro and small enterprises (MSEs). This is EBRD’s first local currency loan in Moldova. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: ‘State of the Sector 2009,’ a Report by ACCESS Development Services, Studies Microfinance in India

A recent article from LiveMint.com highlighted the results of ‘State of the Sector 2009,’ a study of 230 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in India performed by ACCESS Development Services, “a not-for-profit organization that offers consulting services to MFIs” [1,2,3]. According to the report, “one out of three microfinance institutions (MFI) in India made losses in fiscal 2009,” which ended on March 31, 2009 [1]. Additionally, 42 percent of MFIs with a loan portfolio at or below INR 5 crore, the equivalent of over USD 1 million, reported losses in the same fiscal year [1]. On the other hand, 80 percent of MFIs with a loan portfolio above INR 50 crore, the equivalent of over USD 10.7 million, were profitable [1]. The article cites operating costs for smaller MFIs, which can be as high as 60 percent of total costs, as an explanation [1]. In terms of repayment, the report claims that the MFIs in the study recovered 99 percent of loans [1]. Overall, the MFIs in the study nearly doubled their loan portfolio in fiscal year 2009, reaching INR 11,734 crore, the equivalent of over USD 2.5 billion, and added 8.5 million borrowers, resulting in a total of 22.6 million borrowers [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Australia’s Foundation for Development Cooperation Wants Your Input on Establishing a Global Masters Degree in Microfinance

In response to an internal study showing strong demand for a world-class-quality, research-informed masters degree in microfinance, Australia’s Foundation for Development Cooperation (FDC) is seeking your input on this possibility via an online survey. While acknowledging that there are a few existing masters degrees specialising in microfinance, FDC argues for the expansion of offerings citing the ranking of “weak management quality” in the top five risks for microfinance by the “Microfinance Banana Skins” survey each of the last two years. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MoneyGram International to Extend Money Transfer Services to Two Cooperative Banks in India, Abhyudaya Co-op Bank Limited and Thane Janata Sahakari Bank Limited

MoneyGram International, a U.S. financial services company, will soon extend its money transfer services to two cooperative banks in India, Abhyudaya Co-op Bank Limited and Thane Janata Sahakari Bank Limited [1,2,3,4]. This brings the total number of banks in India offering MoneyGram’s money transfer services to 18, with Abhyudaya and Thane Janata Sahakari being the first cooperatives to do so [1]. MoneyGram has offices in New Delhi and Mumbai, and this deal will extend the company’s reach to “smaller cities and towns in the states of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Gujarat” [1]. According to the World Bank, Indian remittances in 2008 totaled USD 52 billion [1]. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Expert Points to Need for Microinsurance in Nigeria as Insurance Penetration Rate Worsens

According to the Managing Director of Insurance Brokers of Nigeria, Mr Prosper Okpue, the insurance penetration rate of Nigeria continues to worsen. His statement comes over a year after the World Bank issued a report citing that the Nigerian insurance industry had remained stagnant for 35 years and its world market share stood at a mere 0.01 percent (compared with South Africa’s 0.83%). The former president of the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers attributed this to the fact that, “Only companies or government ministries will pay premium for their group life insurance. What happens to the informal sector where the bulk of the population can be found carrying out legitimate economic activities?” In response to the issue, Mr Okpue proposed a microinsurance scheme that would “help the people integrate insurance into their lives.” Further details have not been released. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: The International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Microinsurance Innovation Facility Opens Fourth Round of Innovation Grants

To spur the development of innovative microinsurance products, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) Microinsurance Innovation Facility has opened its fourth round of grant funding. Since “insurance providers often lack the know how to reach this market and need to experiment to develop sustainable business models…[these] grants are there to support those risk takers, cover their start up costs and harness lessons learnt,” said Craig Churchill, team leader of the Microinsurance Innovation Facility. Since its founding in 2008, the Facility has provided 34 innovation grants, ranging from USD 20,000 to USD 600,000, to insurance companies, cooperatives, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other microinsurance providers. The deadline for the fourth round of grant proposals is March 2nd, 2010. More information can be found at www.ilo.org/microinsurance. Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Microinsurance that Works for Women: Making Gender-Sensitive Microinsurance Programs by Anjali Banthia, Susan Johnson, Michael McCord, and Brandon Mathews

Written by Anjali Banthia, Women’s World Banking; Susan Johnson, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath; Michael J. McCord, The MicroInsurance Centre; and Brandon Mathews, Zurich Financial Services. Published by the International Labour Office (ILO), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and Women’s World Banking as Microinsurance Paper No. 3 in 2009; Research supported by the ILO’s Microinsurance Innovation Facility and the Swiss Development Corporation; 37 pages, available at: http://www.microfinancegateway.org/gm/document-1.9.40879/microinsurance%20that%20work%20for%20women.pdf

This paper intends to analyze what the authors call a “gendered approach” towards providing microinsurance to the impoverished by discussing how microinsurance schemes can be designed to help poor women, who are especially vulnerable to health and income shocks. Microinsurance is a financial service that allows the poor to make regular premium payments (proportionate to the probability of risk they face) in order to protect themselves against vulnerability shocks. For microfinance institutions (MFIs), microinsurance services can serve as an additional source of revenue. This study is based on research that has shown that women face very specific roles as managers of risk for not only themselves, but their households as well. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Extends $10m Synthetic Local Currency Loan to AccessBank of Azerbaijan

At the Azerbaijan Investment Summit held in London on December 8th, AccessBank, an Azerbaijani microfinance institution (MFI) with total assets of USD 239 million, signed an agreement on the first synthetic AZN loan to be extended by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Under the synthetic local currency loan, EBRD will provide USD 10 million to AccessBank, but the actual loan obligation by AccessBank to the EBRD will be the AZN value of the provided funds, about AZN 8 million. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL EVENT: MicroInsurance Summit 2010: Evaluating Stategies for Delivery, Partner-Agent Models and Scalability, February 23-25, 2010, Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Event Name: MicroInsurance Summit 2010: Evaluating Stategies for Delivery, Partner-Agent Models and Scalability

Event Date: February 23-25, 2010

Event Location: Le Meridien Piccadilly, London

Event Website: http://www.hansonwade.com/events/microinsurance-summit-2010/index.shtml

See Our Comprehensive Event Calendar Here:
http://microfinanceassociation.ning.com/events Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: LeapFrog Invests $6.8m in AllLife, a South African HIV and Diabetes Microinsurer

LeapFrog Investments, a for-profit, private equity microinsurance fund, has invested ZAR 50 million (USD 6.8 million) in AllLife, a South African insurer for people with HIV and diabetes. AllLife provides life insurance only to those who follow an appropriate health monitoring and treatment program, enabling it to maintain more competitively priced coverage. Mr. Ross Beerman, Managing Director of AllLife said: “These are potential policyholders, willing to pay for reasonably priced insurance and willing to take steps to manage their disease so that they lead long and productive lives. From a business risk and profitability perspective, of course they’re insurable – we simply had to invent systems to monitor and support them in the right ways.” Continue reading

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MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: Insurance in Developing Countries: Exploring Opportunities in Microinsurance, by Lloyd’s 360 Risk Insight and MicroInsurance Centre L.L.C.

Published by Lloyd’s 360 Risk Insight and the MicroInsurance Centre in November 2009, 38 pages, available at: http://www.lloyds.com/NR/rdonlyres/5CFE7CAF-0075-415C-B0F2-BEBF0323059E/0/Microinsurancereport_Nov2009.pdf

Produced by Lloyd’s, an insurance and reinsurance market, and the MicroInsurance Centre, a consulting and advocacy company, this report describes the current landscape of microinsurance and lays out the means and benefits of entering this emerging market. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL.ORG BRIEF: Citi Arranges $21.7m Syndicated Agricultural Loan to Microfinance Institution BURO Bangladesh

Citi has recently arranged a syndicated agricultural loan, which is a large loan made by multiple banks to a single borrower, to BURO Bangladesh, one of the country’s microfinance institutions (MFI). The 5-year loan of USD 21.7 million is claimed to be the “first ever syndicated agricultural term financing facility” in Bangladesh.  Executive Director of BURO Zakir Hossain stated that the increased funds will help BURO extend its services to more rural areas to increase food security throughout the country. Continue reading

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