MICROCAPITAL STORY: Philippines Government Creates Microfinance Initiatives to Assist Large Numbers of “Financial Crisis Affected” Overseas Filipino Workers

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of the Philippines, the People’s Credit and Finance Corp., and a representative from Pasig City signed a memorandum of agreement to grant loans of P20 million (USD 422 thousand) to overseas Filipino workers and their families who are also residents of Pasig City. The funds will come from the DFA’s savings. Applicants must apply to their district office and, if they meet the requirements, will be “endorsed” by the People’s Credit and Finance Corporation to their accredited microfinance institutions. While the MFIs will eventually lend them the funds and collect payments for the loan, specific implementing rules and regulations that have not yet been formulated will be designed for this initiative. Continue reading

WHO’S WHO IN MICROFINANCE: Neptune Software Plc

Founded in 1999, Neptune Software Plc is a banking software provider.  The UK-based company has over 170 employees and offices in the UK, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and India.  Neptune partners with technology leaders such as BEA, Oracle, Sybase, IBM, and Business Objects.  While Neptune also provides financial services software to the broader financial services industry, the company has created a niche with microfinance institutions.  In Nigeria, Neptune has partnered with over 45 successful microfinance institutions.  In 2005, CGAP awarded the company the highest rating, 4 stars, for its operational excellence.  Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL STORY: The MasterCard Foundation and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) to Provide Microfinance Services for Poor Youth in Egypt and Morocco

The MasterCard Foundation and Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), a Canadian Christian organization, have announced a USD 5 million five-year program that will provide financial services to youth between the ages of 15 and 24 in Morocco and Egypt.  Microfinance services for the youth market have traditionally been scarce due to the perception that youth borrowers are higher risk because they lack collateral or work experience.  The program, titled Youth Invest, will enable microfinance institutions to develop and test innovative products designed specifically for the youth maket.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: Rwanda’s Microfinance Industry Struggles with Low Portfolio Qualities

The growth of Rwanda’s microfinance industry is impeded by hundreds of thousands of borrowers who have failed to service their loans, contributing to high non-performing loan portfolio percentages in microfinance institutions (MFIs), it was reported in All Africa. MFI’s in Rwanda are currently dealing with poor loan repayment from their clients as a result of diverting loan funds to meet their personal needs instead of using them for the proposed investment. A number of Rwandan officials have commented on the situation, acknowledging that this is a serious problem in Rwanda. Gideon Kayinamura, a member of Rwandan Parliament advises that it is important for clients and lenders to come to a roundtable and fully understand the transactions before loans can be disbursed and Prosper Nyirumuringa, director of the Microfinance Development and Financing Fund of Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), advised MFI management to introduce officers who will be responsible for following up on the actual spending of loan money so that the expected investment returns are achieved. A variety of studies and surveys have identified key challenges and deficiencies in Rwanda’s microfinance industry that contribute to some of the low portfolio qualities of MFIs. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL EVENT: 3rd Annual Forum on Responsible Investing

JANUARY 12 TO 13, 2009, NEW YORK CITY, USA

In January, a socially-conscious investment conference organized annually by Foundation & Endowment Money Management, Money Management Letter, and the Social Investment Forum will be held at the Union League Club located at 38 East 37th Street in New York City.   This year’s theme is “ESG on the Ground: Enhancing Profitability through Sustainable Investing.”   The third such conference of its kind, the conference this year has been expanded to two full days and will include a half-day workshop entitled, “A Practical Guide to the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI),” which will be led by the PRI Secretariat.  The conference is open to those who hold leadership positions anywhere along the spectrum of investment organizations, from hedge funds and private equity firms to public foundations and family offices.  Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL EVENT: POSTPONED: 2009 European Summit on Global Microfinance Investments

C5, has postponed indefinitely its “European Summit on Global Microfinance Investments” that had been planned to begin March 2, 2009, in Geneva, Switzerland. No new date has been set. For more information you may email k.persson@CC5-Online.com, or call +44 (0) 20 7878 6888.

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MICROCAPITAL STORY: USAID AND RBAP’S MABS Expands Rural Banking Nationwide in The Philippines

The Philippines’ Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS), a program of the Rural Bankers Association of the Philippines (RBAP) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) plans to expand and increase the number of borrowers using rural banks nationwide. MABS aims to increase the number of borrowers among participating rural banks by more than 375 thousand from 2008 to 2013. The program originated in Mindanao, where it has provided training and technical assistance to rural banks for the past ten years and acts as the implementing agency for USAID’s Mindanao Peace and Development Fund (MPAD Fund) and plans to expand throughout the Philippines. The Mindanao Economic Development Council (MEDCo) is the government implementation and overseeing body for MABS. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL EVENT: Uniglobal Research’s 2nd Annual Microfinance Forum

MARCH 19 TO MARCH 20, 2009, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

Uniglobal Research, a business events firm for various industries in the financial sector, will host its second Annual Microfinance Forum in Spring of 2009 in Vienna, Austria. The conference will touch upon all of the following topics: how global trends and imbalances affect the microfinance industry; successful business models in low-income markets; including the world’s poor as investors, producers, sellers, and buyers; common standards for the microfinance industry; mobile banking for the poor; retail microfinance; and micro (life) insurance. The event has been billed to various groups, including: microfinance institutions (MFIs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), commercial banks, research institutions, technology providers, and other public sector organizations. Uniglobal Research hopes participants will learn about the current activities and future plans of international commercial banks with respect to microfinance, capture lessons from relevant project experiences, and gain unique perspectives on how to align social issues with corporate strategy. Continue reading

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GUEST EDITORIAL: “Coping with a Crisis” by Christian Ruehmer, Reprinted From Europe and Central Asia’s Microfinance Centre (MFC)

The world of developed financial markets seems broken. Eighteen months ago the “subprime crisis” started, and a few banks were failing. Since then, bad news on the markets has been published daily. However, over the last weeks, the situation escalated with banks failing on a daily basis, Iceland’s financial system collapsing and liquidity disappearing completely.Logo

What do microfinance institutions (MFIs) have to do with this? According to studies, microfinance is uncorrelated with other financial markets. Portfolios grow fast and public interest increases. Investors were chasing MFIs to allocate their funds and conferences were organized all over the world. Microfinance is deemed to be different. The worst-case expectation is that the crisis might slightly increase funding costs and provisions. Continue reading

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MICROCAPITAL EVENT: Aitec Africa’s 2009 Conference on Banking & Payment Technologies in East Africa

FEBRUARY 17 TO FEBRUARY 19, 2009, NAIROBI, KENYA

Aitec Africa, an event management and marketing firm with offices in Kenya and the UK, will hold a conference to discuss the banking and payment technologies available to the East African financial services sector.  Aitec Africa hopes that bank managers and customers will learn about the latest international developments in payment technologies, best practices in information technology (IT) project deployment, and current trends in customer service delivery.  The conference will be held over a three-day period at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre in Nairobi, Kenya.  Continue reading

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