9 01 2008

Microfinance is a very popular term and it has become a very lucrative business for many organizations. However, there is a lot of difference between banking institutions having a microfinancing arm and an NGO working towards providing micro loans to people below the poverty line. There have been innumerable discussions on this topic and the whole practice depends on how it is utilized.
On one hand, providing micro-loans to people below the poverty line in groups, provides an opportunity for them to build up their livelihood instead of depending on bank loans (which for various reasons are more tough to get) and on the other side, there have been questions and debates on the interest rates which are being charged.
I am working on a white paper based on my understanding and will publish this soon.
Many major organizations are venturing into this business and e-Bay has recently launched their microfinance arm – MicroPlace. MicroPlace is an organization which has tie-up’s with other NGO’s who work at the grass root level to provide loans. Users can invest in MicroPlace and then the money is provided to organizations for the kind of investment the user chooses. The user has access to all profiles / organizations which are listed on the site and looking for any kind of investment and decide as to where his/her money goes. The most lucrative aspect of microfinancing is that the repayment rate is close to or more than 98% most of the time.