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Archive for the ‘Microfinance’ Category

Krong Pailin, Cambodia. In the rainy season a 1-2 km trip can take much of the day.

Rural microcredit rates have risen sharply since the dawn of the microfinance revolution. Most modern rates range from 12-60% annually, with unsubsidized rates below 12% being extremely rare. The alternative for most poor borrowers is either no credit at all, or much higher informal rates.

At the dawn of the microfinance revolution, during the 1860s-90s, the Raiffeisen banks of rural Germany charged 5½% (per annum, declining balance) on small farmers’ loans, (more…)

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Arusha Women's Market. Villagers save at home from one harvest to the next, losing a lot of their savings.

The second afternoon of a three-day strategic planning workshop for a rural credit union in Kilimanjaro region. Five board members and the manager have just completed a pilot market survey in their village. Their board room is spacious and airy – though one wall is missing, and a kid goat sits comfortably under the manager’s chair.

They report back on what they have learned.

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No 'village bank' for us!

NGO projects often discourage villagers from joining more than VSLA or other savings association. Why?

While consulting with MicroSave in 2008 I visited Mazarpara village in Lower Assam with Abhijit Sharma of the Indian Institute of Bank Management (Guwahati). In this economically active but poor village near Guwahati ‘accumulating savings and credit associations’ (ASCAs) started over 3 decades ago. The average household (among 72) held investments (more…)

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In Asia's villages, girls often wear gold. Photo credit: Vincent Johnson

A few years ago, in a small village in Kampong Chhnang, I met Ms. Cheng Yeng. In her early 40s and mother of 3 grown children, Ms. Cheng was clearly an excellent household money manager – bright, articulate, and shrewd. She told me that she uses cash earned after her rice and palm sugar harvests to buy gold, last year at $38.50 per chi.

Yet in the months before the harvest (more…)

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