Is Microfinance Responsible for Everything?

LEAD Research Team | July 3, 2012

“Profiteers have hijacked the microfinance“; that is what a new book written by Hugh Sinclair alleges. I am not denying that many from this industry are making profit. However, time and again, i am tempted to ask the critics of microfinance if they can answer what would happen to microfinance clients in the absence of microfinance. Why do clients take loans from microfinance? Or in the absence of microfinance, will banks reach out to these low income clients? Recently, CMF

Where do Interventions Come From?

LEAD Research Team | July 2, 2012

I came across a reference to a paper that was written in the 1800s (in Dublin), where the researcher attempted to help the poor in his neighborhood by employing them in spinning linen-yarn. He reflects on some of the limitations of his endeavor:   “Another observation and a most important one is this: that we are not to be immediately discouraged by the failure of an attempt to relieve the poor, nor to pronounce at once that the scheme is

MBVF and MFI: Similar yet Different?

Gedeon Lim | June 29, 2012

Keen readers of microfinance blogs might recall David Roodman making this postawhile back on a quasi-experimental evaluation of Microcredit provision in Thailand where Kaboski & Townsend used an exogenous policy initiative, the “Million Baht Village Fund (MBVF)”, as a proxy to investigate the impact of microcredit provision.  The full paperwas recently published in Econometrica and, being foreign to the Indian Microfinance scene, I thought it might be interesting to see if a simple cross-country comparison could contribute to the generalizability

Savings Dilemma

Ujjawal | June 28, 2012

We often come across people who say that they are not earning enough to save or do not see how a savings account would help them. More often than not, as laymen we believe the story and even empathise with such people. As a researcher working at the Centre for Micro Finance, I have had this discussion many times with my colleagues and their thoughts on making a savings account mandatory for all the citizens of the country. As a

Short-Sighted on Regulation?

LEAD Research Team | June 21, 2012

A look at most news channels and even the financial news channels may not be a pleasant experience these days. The word ‘crisis’ has become a very commonly used word. Much of it has been reported, the question remains as to how many has understood the problems and challenges as far as financial services for the poor are concerned. What set out to alleviate the poor and their general welfare now needs a great deal of regulation and scrutiny. Three

Map of Microfinance Distribution in India

If you are interested in understanding financial inclusion in India, have you ever wondered about the penetration of financial services in India at state-wide or district-wide level? Have you ever wished to explore this penetration across various demographic and socio-economic strata? If so, Centre for Micro Finance is happy to announce that your wish has come true. We have developed an interactive map of microfinance distribution by gathering data regarding the spread of financial services for the poor in India.

Microfinance Bill- Frequently Asked Questions

Deepti KC | May 25, 2012

Union Cabinet has recently cleared the Microfinance Bill and the bill is now introduced in Lok Sabha. If approved, the microfinance bill will take MFIs outside the purview of state-level legislation and make the central bank to regulate the sector. If you are wondering what microfinance bill is and why it matters to the sector and a research institute like Centre for Micro Finance (CMF), I have tried to summarize some of the key features in this blog. (Detailed information:

Saved by the Bill?

SKS has shut down branches in Andhra Pradesh and according to Times of India article, “1200 people will lose jobs”- apart from millions of clients losing their credit source. My intention is not to argue on behalf of SKS by writing this post. I still remember SKS founder Mr. Vikram Akula debating with Prof. Yunus right before AP crisis in September 2010 by stating, “I see Yunus as a mentor and, like Grameen Bank, SKS gives microcredit for income-generating activity,

Funding to the Microfinance Sector: Review of Options

Jayshree Venkatesan, Vineet Sukumar | May 11, 2012

The Indian microfinance sector has seen a series of rapid changes in the past decade. The sector grew rapidly in the period 2004-2009, with an average increase in number of clients year-on-year being 91%, while size of portfolio outstanding grew by almost 100% Y-o-Y[1]. During the same period, one also saw a number of Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) being established with a corresponding spike in interest from private equity investors. For instance, between 2007 and 2009 alone, the number of

Involving Students in Social Science Experiments

Deepti KC | April 30, 2012

The development sector in India has been a vibrant scene – many private and public institutions are engaged in efforts to raise the living standards of the rural poor. From non-profit organizations offering financial services to for-profit social enterprises, India has served as a laboratory for social innovation and social entrepreneurship. However, awareness about the social enterprise is fairly low among India’s bright student population, many of whom remained focused on pursuing conventional and lucrative careers. Not many of the