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News tagged as "microfinance"
April 6, 2015

Oikocredit records solid financial results while preparing for its 40th anniversary

Tags: microfinance, Oikocredit, financial and social performance | by David Díaz de Quijano i Barbero.

In 2014 Oikocredit recorded a net consolidated result of € 17.1 million, up from 2013 €13.4 million in 2013, which entails an increase of 28% over the previous year, and is a great motivation for adding up to the celebration of the organization's 40th anniversary this coming year. 

Oikocredit managing director, Mr David Woods, said the results were testament to a sound business model that balances social, environmental and financial goals. “In 2014 we were well positioned to diversify into new sectors as well as strengthen our operations which in turn lowered our risk profile,” said Mr Woods.

With a portfolio of 805 partner organizations across 63 countries, Oikocredit continued its strategic investment focus on inclusive finance, agriculture and renewable energy in 2014, that according to Woods generated immediate results. Furthermore he added that a "plus" approach was taken to development financing to provide the partner organizations with resources to responsibly grow their businesses. 

In the last 40 years Oikocredit has financed 1.670 MFIs and social enterprises and disbursed €2100 millions in development financing, of which more than half have been disbursed in the last 5 years. It is precisely the observation of the behaviour of last year's growth tendencies what motivated Mr. Woods to point out that “In the next five years we see ourselves as being the most socially responsible impact investor in the world, with a true mix of social, environmental and financial goals" and to add that social performance would remain a priority, with a focus on impact studies to assess the long-term benefits of social financing, while staying true to our social mission. 

Read here the full press release on Oikocredit's 2014 financial results>

January 12, 2015

The connection between idealism and realism: the case of ethical banking

Tags: ethical banking, social enterprises, microfinance | by David Díaz de Quijano i Barbero, OikoCredit Catalunya

Faced with an economic system that is heightening social inequalities and environmental impact

December 3, 2014
Tags: microfinance, European Microfinance Week | by Verónica López Sabater

e-MFP would like to thank the over 400 participants from 56 countries who gathered at European Microfinance Week, 12th - 14th November in Luxembourg.  Feedback from the event was excellant - see some comments and impressions in the e-MFP video clip!

e-MFP

August 5, 2014
Tags: microfinance, research, E-MFP, award | by UMM

Dear students, professors and practitioners,

We would like to inform you about the upcoming deadline for the call for master's theses and PhD articles for the University Meets Microfinance (UMM) Awards Program 2014.

UMM invites Master's students who have completed their final thesis and PhD students who have written an article on a financial inclusion-related topic and who are enrolled at universities in the European Union to submit applications for the “University Meets Microfinance” (UMM) Awards Program.

DEADLINE: September 1st, 2014 (23.59 GMT+1)

 Click here to learn more and apply!

Please send your complete application to umm@planetfinance.org.
Please contact us for any further information you may need: umm@planetfinance.org.

 

UMM team

May 8, 2014
Tags: Morocco, Islamic microfinance | by Verónica López Sabater

As a result of the collaboration ties between two individual remEX founding members (the International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship and Fundacion Afi), we are pleased to share the results of the research done by the student Elisa Ferrer.

Elisa replied to a question that many of us were hanging around without having the time and the resources to investigate and reach an objective and convincing answer.

 

We really hope you find this report interesting. We will soon have it translated into French.

 

March 12, 2014
Tags: microfinance, Masters, Spain | by Diana Schvarztein

 

In recent decades, microfinance has expanded all over the world as a tool to promote entrepreneurship, as well as social and financial inclusion of society’s most marginalized members. At present, microfinance programmes are attempting to improve the living conditions of more than 200 million poor families.

The International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship (6th edition) offers specialized up-to-date and high quality training in microfinance, starting late October 2014 until May 2015. 
 

This Master programme is lectured 100% in English by main experts and professionals of the microfinance sector. It is targeted towards students and professionals who desire to work in microfinance institutions, banks, NGOs or international agencies. Most of our students are currently performing middle management and leadership positions in the sector worldwide.

Take a look at the programme and be one of the first to enrol.

October 30, 2013

Celebrating the Fourth meeting of the Spanish Microfinance Network

Tags: microfinance, Spain, remEX, strategic planning, performance | by Verónica López Sabater

The IV annual meeting of the Spanish  Microfinance Network (remEX) took place last Wednesday, October 23th. It was the first time this year that all members and observators could meet face to face.

Besides being a pleasure to have the opportunity to share physical space and time with remEX members and observers, we had the chance of discussing for about three hours the issues that we all had agreed to discuss:

  • review of the strategic plan,
  • presentation of the network's performance indicators,
  • presentation of this year's activity of the 4 working groups, and
  • expectations and challenges for 2014 , among which includes greater dissemination of the knowledge generated within existing working groups.

 

In this occasion, Afi's School of Applied Finance Afi allowed us to occupy their facilities to accommodate the 23 members and 8 observers who today form the remEX, many of whom had to travel from across the country to attend the meeting.

The next meeting will take place in the first half of 2014 .

October 17, 2013

What microfinance? Or how to make microfinance work for the poor

Tags: microfinance, over-indebtedness, self-financed communities | by Laia Oto Llorens & Miquel de Paladella, founders of 1x1Microcredit
Microcredit and microfinance progressed unchallenged until 2010, with virtually no criticism or questioning. It looked like the new panacea for development: access to credit would permanently generate opportunities for the poor to escape poverty. The crisis in India that led millions of poor families to dramatic levels of over-indebtedness generated a credibility gap that helped us understand which practices and services are really helpful for poor communities, and which ones have negative impacts. We have finally learnt that microfinance can be counterproductive, irrespective of our good intentions; and we have also learnt that microfinance can be a powerful tool to increase the resilience of vulnerable communities.

Some microfinance institutions have caused high levels of indebtedness among poor communities due to their aggressive attitude to place capital. In Europe, where financial education is somehow higher than in many other countries, many people have fallen into the trap of over-indebtedness. It is then easy to imagine what has happened in countries with a lower educational level. The lesson learnt is that microfinance cannot be directed by the supply, it should not be driven by the interests of investors to place capital and generate financial return, but it should respond to the demand from the clients. The benefits of microfinance may get diluted by the negative effects of over-indebtedness when microfinance is driven by the offer.

The other major criticism to microfinance focuses on interest rates. This is a complex problem. In populated countries, the costs of microfinance services and therefore the interest rates tend to be lower than in countries where the population is scattered. Domestic inflation also complicates the equation. The major challenge of microfinance is in fact the transaction costs. The costs of managing thousands of small loans to people who are in rural areas, geographically disperse, is much larger than when managing a few large credits to a few clients or companies in the same location. Making microfinance services sustainable and scalable requires a full coverage of all its costs.

One of the most powerful and proven solutions that minimize the adverse effects of credit (they never go away) are self-financed communities, the Bankomunales, or similar systems. The idea is simple: credit is important, but savings are even more critical. Indeed, the poor are able to save money. The proof is that there are more than 250,000 savings groups worldwide. These are groups of 20-30 people who manage their money independently: they put their savings together, and respond to the demands of small loans of its members, and they charge a small interest rate. It is an effective, efficient and affordable way of promoting savings, and providing access to credit for small cash flow problems. In these self-funded communities there is often excessive supply of credit, management costs are very low, and interest rates are set at the discretion of its members. Finally, the profits generated by loans and their interests are shared among all members, which makes the interest rates relatively unimportant.

1x1Microcredit ´s obsession since its foundation has been to increase the resilience of the most vulnerable populations, and helping them escape poverty through useful proven microfinance mechanisms. We saw that the benefits of accessing credit depended on the poor communities’ ability to generate savings and investment schemes that would eliminate the negative effects, reduce transaction costs and increase opportunities. Therefore, we have focused on promoting self-funded communities and offer credit only to those engaged in this type of savings groups.

Self-funded communities however fail to finance investment projects of over 1,000€ or 2,000€. This is where 1x1microcredit gets activated. When members of self-funded communities require larger credits for their projects, 1x1Microcredit provides them access to credit through our partner organizations. They also offer microcredit together with financial education and training, as in the case of Fundación Paraguaya -offering quality training, accompanied by a microcredit- or Diyite, advising women entrepreneurs in their income-generating initiatives.

This is how we expect to make microfinance a powerful tool to support the development of many poor families.

 

Links a videos to embed:

July 19, 2013

Microfinance back and forth: development potential of migrants

Tags: microfinance, migrants, Spain | by Inma Martín Alegre, Servei Solidari

The economic crisis and the productive return

The organizations - as ours - that are dedicated to working with people of foreign origin living in Spain, have observed in the last two years a new situation concerning this collective. Migrants are now planning to return to their home countries to settle permanently.

The feasibility of a permanent return to the home country takes the lead in an environment of economic crisis in Spain, which has generated a dramatic loss of jobs in sectors where these people were hired mostly (such as construction).

Many of their countries of origin (in which migrants have decisively influenced the impact of remittances) are currently enjoying a phase of economic emergence. Adding personal constraints such as physical separation from family, the opportunity of a new (return) migratory process becomes more than reasonable for them.  

This process implies, indeed, a rearrangement of expectations and the design of a new life project. Many of these people are over 40 years old and present a low-employability profile in a new dynamic and demanding labor market. On the other hand, the same migration project in Spain has involved training and experience in new professional areas. The migrant then decides to create its own source of income:  the productive return is one of the most popular choices.

In these cases, although the person holds savings or some capital from the state program that enables the recovery of the capitalization of unemployment benefits in their country of origin, most of them need external financing.  Without it, the business project they have in mind will not be achievable.    

An opportunity to be grasped by MFIs

The financial systems of these countries conceive credit customers only those who can present a credit profile not only suitable but who can prove a minimum time of residence in the country. This policy also applies in the context of microfinance institutions, which would finance specially those projects which are not starts-up but have been operating at least for one year minimum.  

 

The migrant is left in a situation, therefore, obliged to necessarily devote the total amount saved to be invested in his/her business if s/he wants to start working immediately after returning home. Otherwise the business project results in a much smaller and precarious initiative than the initial project or the migrant will survive for a while with his savings, waiting to reach the required risk profile for accessing a loan.

The possibility of having this group as clients is an option that some MFIs have begun to value. From the commercial point of view is certainly a large market niche for several reasons. First, migrants can capitalize part of their remittances before returning through transfers to an account in their name. They are an important customer group that would generate revenue in the form of savings. Secondly migrants in Spain have savings to be transferred at the time they return to their home country.The beneficial impact for the migrants is evident as they can start planning their business ventures before returning and consequently organize their personal finances according to the future situation.

For this to happen, MFIs and lenders must be able to establish the necessary processes to disseminate information on the availability of these products and to facilitate and expedite the paperwork.

Migrant organizations in Spain are undoubtedly allied to achieving this ultimate goal as they guarantee capacity to disseminate information to potential recipients.

With the support of new technologies, by promoting the accessibility of management through the use of internet and smartphones such processes would be reasonably simple to implement and would respond finally to a clear need for this large group of people .

June 13, 2013

Open Application Period for the International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship (IMME)

This post has been elaborated by Gonzalo Luzárraga Álvarez, International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship

The International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship a Specific Degree of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid launches its fifth edition with a new deeper perspective on entrepreneurship and social inclusion, without missing the traditional focus on global microfinance analysis regarding different world regions.

Pioneering and multi-disciplinary, combining Economics, Entrepreneurship, Social Inclusion and Development Cooperation, the IMME offers high quality practical and theoretical training by a top-level international panel of microfinance researchers, practitioners and executives.

The greatest value of the Master lies in its international teaching panel, with over thirty lecturers with recognized experience in the microfinance sector and guest professors from universities all over the world. We highlight the participation of panelists such as John Hatch (father of microfinance in Latin America and founder of FINCA International), Claudio González-Vega (academic expert, professor at Ohio State University) or Micol Pistelli (The Mix Market – Social Performance analyst), among others.

 

The program covers all aspects of microfinance, focusing on financial and social issues and delving deeply into the differing perspectives and needs of populations with diverse geographic and socio-economic backgrounds.

The course lasts an academic year, from late October to June, with a total of 400 teaching hours, about 50% in Spanish and 50% in English, with classes Monday through Friday from 18:00 to 21:00. In a seminar format, more than 30 professors and microfinance practitioners share their academic, personal and professional experiences, using a debate and discussion approach that enriches the classroom sessions and creates an environment conducive to learning everything about this financial inclusion tool.

The International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship includes in its program a minimum of 150 internship hours with over 40 top-level microfinance institutions in Spain, Europe and the rest of the world collaborating and providing our students with practical experience. Many internships lead to jobs thanks to the experience and knowledge acquired during the Master.

In the actual stage of the microfinance industry, a deep knowledge of the market and the research and development of new innovative products and ideas is really essential to enforce good practices and microfinance in itself. This post-graduated program, specific, up-to-date and heterogeneous, provides the necessary knowledge to build the microfinance future basis.

To enroll in the upcoming 2013-2014 master class, in it’s fifth year, a university degree is required, as are other application documents that can be found on our website along with further information about the program.

For any further information the International Master in Microfinance for Entrepreneurship can be contacted by writing to master.microcredito1@uam.es 

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Initiative financed by: Initiative financed by AECID
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