Middle is Not a Four-Letter Word

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May 1, 2007

Maybe it’s my hardening after a decade in the industry, but the increased fanfare over microfinance coupled with the decreased stability in many parts of the world during the last couple of years makes me question if providing access to financial services is a sufficient goal.

The industry focus of late has been on commercialization. Ten years of data from this publication and others demonstrate that institutions can provide financial services to the poor and be profitable. World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) own findings together with benchmarking data from the MicroBanking Bulletin’s (MBB) Autumn 2006 issue demonstrate that a mixed outreach approach, inclusive of poor, low and middle income clients, helps ensure the financial sustainability of mission-driven institutions. But what impact does this approach have on a country’s development and, most importantly, on its people? read more...