Thursday, January 22, 2009

Where in the world is microfinance?

This is a summary/analysis of where US microfinance reaches. I'm profiling the organizations included below (in no particular order). I hope you find this as enlightening as I did. If you're aware of other organizations, let me know about them and I'll add them in.

  • - Offers microloans and services to 1.1 million working poor in 28 developing nations.
  • - Unitus, an international nonprofit organization, works to reduce global poverty by increasing access to life-changing microfinance services.
  • - Global Partnerships currently works with 21 organizations in Latin America.
  • - FINCA International provides financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs in 21 countries so they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living.
  • - Owned by eBay since 2006, MicroPlace's mission is to help alleviate global poverty by enabling everyday people to make investments in the world's working poor.
  • - Since 1985, Enterprise has equipped over 200,000 families all over the developing world to support themselves through their own entrepreneurial efforts.
  • WholePlanet Foundation – A division of Whole Foods, provides microloans to microenterprises in ten countries. Unlike Kiva and others, it does not appear that lenders are able to choose the program or individual they would like to contribute to. Total authorized grants to partners as of October 2008 are nearly Eight Million Dollars US.
  • – Kiva’s slogan is “loans that change lives” and is one of the leaders in the microlending community. The Kiva Web site allows loan funders to choose individual borrowers to fund, and Kiva estimates that by 2010 they will have facilitated $100 Million in microloans.
  • WOKAI – Wokai, meaning “I go” in Chinese is an Oakland, CA startup and has provided just 43 loans in china, but is poised for growth—and has obtained substantial media in areas where its chapter membership is growing such as Seattle and San Francisco. Wokai reaches out to the Chinese-American community for help funding loans that recycle three times (to three different entrepreneurs) and is afterwards used for long-term lending by the lending partner in China.
  • ACCION – Accion International is a long-term and global player in the microfinance world. They are active in 24 countries and the USA, and according to their Web site they have made $17.4 Billion in microloans. Their historical repayment rate is a stunning 97%.


Bhalchander said...


You could also check

We plan to start operations soon.

Best Regards


Leslie Forman said...

Thanks Jessica for the Wokai shout-out! We really appreciate it. FYI wo kai means "I start" or "I open" in Chinese, and we chose this name to represent the entrepreneurial spirit that we support and celebrate. Happy Year of the Ox!

Tom said...

Jessica, this is an amazing wrap-up. There are so many microcredit companies I haven't heard of. I'm going to start checking them out.

Tom said...

I think I found one for Ethiopia:

A Glimmer of Hope Foundation

JessicaW said...

Wow Everyone! Great comments. Leslie--thanks for the correction on the translation of "Wokai" I will update this in the post. Thanks also to Tom for finding me a microfinance organization in Ethiopia. (I have a particular interest in Ethiopia as I lived there for a month this past year while adopting my daughter). My Ethiopian friends joked that I'd been in Africa so long that my hair was starting to curl. (Pretty good for an Irish girl!)

I'll keep adding to this post as we learn of more microfinance groups. Also, I intentionally left out domestic microfinance organizations for the sake of the posts' length. I will create another post about these some other time.

Thanks again everyone for reading and for the additional resources

David said...

Has anyone heard of a mechanism to transfer ownership of Prosper loans?