introduction microfinance

microfinance introduction

CHAPTER 1

INTRODUCTION

Microfinance is usually understood to entail the provision of financial services to micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses, which lack access to banking and related services due to the high transaction costs associated with serving these client categories. For some, microfinance is a movement whose object is "a world in which as many poor and near-poor households as possible have permanent access to an appropriate range of high quality financial services, including not just credit but also savings, insurance, and fund transfers." Many of those who promote microfinance generally believe that such access will help poor people out of poverty. For others, microfinance is a way to promote economic development, employment and growth through the support of micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses. Poor people find creative and often collaborative ways to meet these needs (Personal Emergencies, Disasters, and Investment Opportunities), primarily through creating and exchanging

different forms of non-cash value. One of the principal challenges of microfinance is providing small loans at an affordable cost. The global average interest and fee rate is estimated at 37%, with rates reaching as high as 70% in some markets. The reason for the high interest rates is not primarily cost of capital. Indeed, the local microfinance organizations that receive zero-interest loan capital from the online microlending platform Kiva charge average interest and fee rates of 35.21%.Rather, the main reason for the high cost of microfinance loans is the high transaction cost of traditional microfinance operations relative to loan size. The history of microfinancing can be traced back as long to the middle of the 1800s when the theorist Lysander Spooner was writing over the benefits from small credits to entrepreneurs and farmers as a way getting the people out of poverty.

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