Sharone Perlstein Microfinance Blog

Learn about the history and development of microfinance and how low-income earners are able to grow their businesses with small loans with lower interest payments.
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The Roots of Microfinance

Microfinance may have taken off in the 20th Century, but it has been around as a concept for hundreds of years. The first record of loans being granted to low-income groups was in the 18th century with the Irish Loan Fund system, which was introduced in order to offer low income earners in Ireland better conditions and a brighter future.

Microfinance Today

For the most part, a microfinance loan is used to support a small business, or help a person with a low-income start an independent freelance business. Microfinance loans are often available to individuals and groups who would not otherwise have access to traditional banking channels and would probably not be approved for a loan by a traditional lending institution. The amounts that are lent vary by social and financial context, loans granted in rural areas and in underdeveloped nations for instance, are usually smaller than those provided in central and developed areas. Though repayments include interest, they are often cleverly structured so as not to financially burden, or pose unnecessary risk to the client. The interest rates on micro loans are typically lower than traditional loans.

Facts and Figures

With recorded repayment rates of approximately 98.9% in 2016, microfinance loans are at the top when it comes to loan repayment rates. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) reports that over 130 million people have benefited from microfinance operations in some of the poorest nations of the world. The IFC has supported the development of microfinance operations in developing nations by providing improvements to credit reporting bureaus and promoting firmer regulations and governance for micro lenders.

It’s More Than Lending

Microfinance and micro lending continue to grow and evolve as the needs of potential borrowers change. Today, some microfinance organizations also offer insurance and bank accounts to help build their customer base and improve the lives and businesses of their growing clientele.

While not every person who has a low-income is eligible for a micro loan, microfinance definitely presents greater manageable financing options to millions of people in need of designated financial assistance.

Sharone Perlstein

Read about Microfinance from around the world by Sharone as he explores Microfinance and it’s effect on thousand of lives around the globe.

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About Microfinance
About Microfinance

A short introduction to Microfinance