MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Philippines Allows Foreign Investors to Hold Stakes of up to 60% in Rural Banks

Philippine President Benigno Aquino reportedly has signed a law, entitled “An Act Allowing the Infusion of Foreign Equity in the Capital of Rural Banks,” that will allow foreign investors to own as much as 60 percent of the voting stock in Philippine “rural banks,” which are sponsored by the government of the Philippines for the purpose of promoting economic development in rural areas. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: FINCA Becomes Majority Shareholder of Kashf Microfinance Bank of Pakistan with $8.4m Investment

Kashf Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL), a Pakistan-based microfinance bank (MFB), recently announced an equity injection of PKR 824.7 million (USD 8.4 million) from FINCA Microfinance Coöperatief U.A., a Netherlands-based entity controlled by US-based NGO FINCA International. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Receives $2.45m from UN’s MicroLead for Liberia Credit Union National Association

The World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU), a US-based association of credit union trade groups in 54 countries, recently received a four-year, USD 2.45 million grant from the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF’s) MicroLead program that it will direct to its new member organization, the Liberia Credit Union National Association (LCUNA), a network of 300 credit unions in Liberia that serve 36,000 individuals. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives, Habitat for Humanity Thailand, Citi Foundation Launch “Microsavings Program for Home Improvement”

Executive Vice President Somsak Kangteerawat of the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), a government-owned bank in Thailand that extends credit to farmers, and Board Chairman Piriyah Wisedjinda of Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Thailand, a branch of the US-based NGO HFH International, have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing the “Microsavings Program for Home Improvement”, which is intended to support home improvements for low-income families living in areas of Thailand that are prone to flooding. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gemalto Provides Biometric Smart Cards for “Prime Cash” Branchless Banking in Bangladesh

Gemalto, a digital security company based in the Netherlands, has developed a smart card-based system for two Bangladeshi businesses: Prime Bank Limited, a commercial bank founded in 1995, and Dipon Consultancy Services Limited (DCSL), a member of the Bangladesh-based conglomerate Dipon Group. The system will support the branchless banking service known as Prime Cash, which was established by the two firms in 2012. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Considers $33m Loan to European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) for Micro-, Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a UK-based development finance institution established in 1991, is reviewing a proposal to invest EUR 25 million (USD 33 million) in the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based investment company, to provide funding for micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in sixteen countries in Southeast Europe and neighboring countries. Continue reading

MICROFINANCE PAPER WRAP-UP: “Interoperability in Electronic Payments: Lessons and Opportunities;” by Carol Coye Benson and Scott Loftesness; published by CGAP (Consultative Group to Assist the Poor)

By Carol Coye Benson and Scott Loftesness; published by Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP); 2012; 46 pages; available at: http://www.cgap.org/sites/default/files/Interoperability_in_Electronic_Payments.pdf

This report explores the issue of cross-compatibility among electronic payment systems that serve poor and under-banked people in developing countries. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL EVENT: 4th Pacific Microfinance Week 2013: Microfinance in the Pacific – Increasing Access, Enhancing Impact, October 21-25, 2013, Nadi, Fiji

Event Name: 4th Pacific Microfinance Week (PMW) 2013: Microfinance in the Pacific – Increasing Access, Enhancing Impact

Event Date: October 21-25, 2013

Event Location: Sheraton Fiji Resort, Nadi, Denarau Island, Viti Levu Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Reserve Bank of India Raises Interest Margin Cap to 12% for Larger Microfinance Institutions

For non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and microfinance institutions (MFIs) of all sizes, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central banking institution, recently set the margin cap, the difference between the amount charged to the borrower and the institution’s cost of funds at 12 percent at least until April 1, 2014 [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development May Offer $40m in Subordinated Debt to Turkey-based Fibabanka

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London that aims to finance operations that are both commercially viable and assist development, has announced that it is considering granting subordinated debt of EUR 30 million (USD 39.6 million) to Fibabanka A.S., a private bank based in Turkey, with the aim of supporting growth of the Turkish micro-, small and medium-sized enterprise (MSME) sector. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: IFC Loans $70m to SB Sberbank of Kazakhstan to Support Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, recently announced that it would loan the local-currency equivalent of USD 70 million to Subsidiary Bank Sberbank of Russia Joint Stock Company (SBK) in Kazakhstan, a subsidiary of government-owned Sberbank of Russia, in an effort to increase financial access for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kazakhstan [1].

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MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Arranges $470m in Loans for Itau Unibanco of Brazil for Women Entrepreneurs, Funded by Bank of America, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, Development Bank of Japan

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank Group, recently announced it will disburse a local-currency loan equivalent to USD 470 million to Itau Unibanco, a Brazilian bank, in an effort to increase the financial inclusion of women-owned enterprises in Brazil. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC), European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), European Commission Establish $380m Middle East, North Africa Small, Medium-Sized Enterprises Facility

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, recently announced that it is partnering with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term lending bank of the European Union (EU); Agence Française de Développement (AFD), France’s international development agency; and the European Commission, the legislative body of the EU, via the Neighborhood Investment Facility (NIF), to establish a USD 380 million financing facility for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Continue reading