The Great AP Microfinance Catharsis

This weekend was one of complete catharsis for me. The Indian microfinance sector, as is well known now, has gone through a roller coaster over the course of the last year and a half—one of emotion, accusations, and frustration. For myself, having had the privilege of working on the Access to Finance in Rural Andhra Pradesh study with colleagues at the IFMR Centre for Micro Finance (CMF), sitting over 7,000 miles away as the crisis unfolded was agonizing. Instead of

Are the RBI’s Financial Inclusion Policies too Conservative?

Shardul Oza | February 21, 2012

A recent article in The Economist discusses the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s record over the last ten to fifteen years. In general, the magazine takes a favourable view of the central bank’s performance, citing its success in maintaining macroeconomic stability and controlling inflation. The article mentions that some critics have lambasted the RBI for its conservative approach to regulation, which they claim, has negatively impacted growth. Having worked in the financial inclusion space for the past couple of years,

Who will Pay for Financial Literacy?

Mudita Tiwari | February 17, 2012

As we meander through the thatched mud-stained and brick houses in Uttar Pradesh, our team asks a curious group of smiling clients – “What did you learn at the training session?” or “Does it help when our team reminds you about your savings goals?”  The answer is inevitably a yes, but the “yes” comes at a cost.  Financial Literacy Education (FE) is most often a classroom based approach conducted either by the financial institutions (such as EKO, FINO), or an

A Letter From an MFI Client

Deepti KC | February 16, 2012

Dear regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders: I am a MFI client from an urban slum, and yes I have taken loans from 2-3 MFIs operating in my area. I do have a bank account, however, every time I have tried to use the banking services, I found the entire process too complicated, and I have no idea about bank Khatas or bank’s  products. In addition, I do not find their staff friendly or courteous. I remember the day when a MFI loan