MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Kenya Commercial Bank, Safaricom’s M-Pesa Launch Mobile App KCB M-Benki to Increase Financial Inclusion

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), a publicly-traded financial services company in Kenya, has partnered with Safaricom, a Kenyan mobile service provider that operates the mobile money service M-Pesa, to launch a mobile banking application called KCB M-Benki in Kenya and five other East African countries serviced by KCB [1]. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Overcoming Barriers to Agricultural Microfinance

At European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by Luxembourg’s 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Daniela Rottger, a consultant to German development finance institution Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), spoke Wednesday about her study of the agricultural lending products offered by several African banks and microlenders. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Women Microfinance Clients Often Save More, Are More Loyal to Lenders

At today’s session on gender at European Microfinance Week in Luxembourg, panelists eschewed the idea that lenders have a moral obligation to serve a greater proportion of women. Instead, Anne-Marie Chidzero of South Africa and Anna Gincherman of the US-based Women’s World Banking (WWB) network both argued strenuously that lenders are leaving money on the table by failing to reach out to women. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Issues $12.5m in Local Currency Loans to Armenia’s Agricultural Cooperative Bank of Armenia-Credit Agricole Bank (ACBA) to Support Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs), Energy Efficient Investments

The UK-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution that finances development projects, has provided two local-currency loans totaling the equivalent of USD 12.5 million to Agricultural Cooperative Bank of Armenia-Credit Agricole Bank (ACBA), a microfinance bank partially owned by French bank Credit Agricole [1]. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Michael Chu: “Disrupt this Old Model to Unlock the Potential of Microfinance”

At today’s opening plenary of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by Luxembourg’s 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), Michael Chu of the US-based Harvard Business School and the Mexico-based venture capital fund Ignia, argued that microfinance is generally implemented using a 20-year-old model that is inefficient and “ripe for disruption” through technology. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Gates Foundation, International Finance Corporation (IFC), MicroSave, United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Partner to Create Helix Institute of Digital Finance

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a US-based nonprofit that provides grants to organizations; the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the US-based World Bank; MicroSave, an India-based for-profit consulting center; and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the global development network of the United Nations, have partnered to create the Helix Institute of Digital Finance, an online platform that will train mobile network operators, financial institutions and third-party providers in an effort to increase the efficiency and impact of their digital and financial services [1]. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: “Making Microfinance Investment Responsible” Group Wrestles with Inconsistent Data Reporting at European Microfinance Week

On this first day of European Microfinance Week, which is hosted by the 140-member European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) of Luxembourg, e-MFP’s “Making Microfinance Investment Responsible” Action Group convened to work on the data it has collected on client protection from 10 microfinance investors, rating agencies and NGOs. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: responsAbility Investments Loans $20m to Improsa Bank of Costa Rica, Supports Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs)

The Switzerland-based investment company responsAbility Investments recently notified MicroCapital that it has disbursed a loan of USD 20 million to Improsa Bank SA of Costa Rica, a financial institution that provides services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) [1]. Continue reading

SPECIAL REPORT: Youth Financial Inclusion Group Tackles Business Training, Scaling-up, Dormant Accounts, Program Indicators, Self-sufficiency at European Microfinance Week

As part of the opening day of European Microfinance Week, a series of events hosted by the Luxembourg-based European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP), the Youth Financial Inclusion Action Group of e-MFP met today to carry on its work relating to savings and other financial services for young people, particularly those aged 15 to 24. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: MicroEnsure, Telenor Pakistan, Jubilee Life Insurance Company to Offer Free Life Insurance to Prepaid Mobile Customers in Pakistan

The Pakistani arm of MicroEnsure, a UK-based microinsurance intermediary, has announced the launch of “Talkshawk Mohafiz Zindagi Beema,” a free mobile life insurance service, in collaboration with Telenor Pakistan, a unit of Norway’s Telenor Group. The insurance will be provided by Jubilee Life Insurance Company Limited, a Pakistani insurance provider [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: “Alternate Dispute Resolution for Microinsurance” (ADReM) Introduced in Philippines to Mediate Disputes Out of Court

The Philippines Department of Finance (DOF) and the Philippines Insurance Commission (IC), the country’s insurance regulatory authority, have introduced an “Alternate Dispute Resolution for Microinsurance” (ADReM) system to resolve complaints regarding microinsurance claims outside the court system [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) Lends $10m to Megabank of Ukraine to Support Agricultural Lending

The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE), a Luxembourg-based microfinance investment vehicle, recently issued a senior loan of USD 10 million to Megabank, a financial service provider in Ukraine, to increase its agricultural lending and strengthen its position in the market [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Developpement International Desjardins (DID) Loans $1m to Microfinance Institution (MFI) Humo & Partners of Tajikistan

Developpement International Desjardins (DID), a nonprofit subsidiary of Canadian cooperative Desjardins Group, has provided a senior loan of USD 1 million to Humo & Partners, a Tajikistan-based microfinance institution, to expand its portfolio. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Micro Pension Foundation, Invest India Micro Pension Services, Visa Partner to Promote Savings by Low-Income Households in India

Micro Pension Foundation, an Indian nonprofit that helps low-income households gain access to microsavings products, and Visa Incorporated, a US-based payments technology company, reportedly are partnering to establish the “Micro Pension Financial Inclusion Lab” [1]. Continue reading

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: International Finance Corporation (IFC) Makes $3m Equity Investment in Bina Usaha Keluarga (BUK) of Indonesia, Seeking to Triple Female Clients of Microfinance Institution Mitra Bisnis Keluarga Ventura (MBK)

Bina Usaha Keluarga (BUK), the Indonesia-based controlling shareholder of Mitra Bisnis Keluarga Ventura (MBK), a microfinance institution (MFI) in the same country, recently received an equity infusion of IDR 34.3 billion (USD 3 million) from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a US-based international financial institution and a member of the US-based World Bank Group, to triple the number of female clients of MBK. Continue reading