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Microfinance Introduction Microfinance is the term that extends provision of a broad expanse of financial services to low-income households and very small enterprises. The financial services offered by organizations offering microfinance programs include savings that are voluntary in nature and loan assistance…
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Download file to see previous pages The purpose of the loans could be for activities that generate income and to establish microenterprises. The delimiting factor for microcredit is its focus mainly on the creation of credit without regard for alleviating poverty and assistance to improve the plight of the poor. The service offered from microcredit puts clients from the low income group to be more apprehensive in availing of this option due to lack of sources for repayment and perceived risk in debt. Having identified the evolution of microcredit programs from the early 1970s, their success have resulted in increased schemes until the mid 1990s. Providers of this type of credit have offered this particular financial assistance concurrent with development agencies with the strategy of alleviating poverty for the marginalized poor. Eventually, large organizations in Bangladesh that offered microfinance schemes were recognized internationally and provided the impetus for the first international summit to be organized and globally presented. Advantage of Microfinance In a discourse written by Remenyi that necessitated the review of thirty independent studies from diverse institutions offering microfinance programs, a significant increase averaging 20% in borrowers’ income was reflected.3 Likewise, the author indicated that the presence of common variables that influence the borrowers’ ability to improve their income, to wit: taking into account their target market, the level of skills, gender, marital status, and available support from external sources. In a related research, there has been a reported positive impact on security perceived by borrowers when there is ongoing access to loans. The experience from Grameen Bank indicates that borrowers who continued to avail of microfinance credit eventually achieved sustainability in food and assets such as livestock and rickshaws. An improvement in economic status of the borrowers was tantamount to an overall improvement in living conditions and the ability to purchase real properties. Thereby, successful microfinance borrowers were proven to have gained substantial security that prevented them to liquidate assets in times of emergencies and disasters. 4 Likewise, amongst successful borrower households in several countries, expanding employment opportunities and increasing hours of employment per week have also been noted. Accordingly, some of the social changes in Grameen Bank villages impact positively on the community as a whole, particularly the increased visibility and mobility of women. One study found that a significant change in household and community status could be derived by women who maintained control of their loans. There were evidences that indicate women manifesting direct correlation between having money and increased status and recognition. There were trends towards resourceful women who learn to use the loans “to empower themselves”.5 However, some studies reveal that “…It cannot be assumed that disbursing loans to women means either that they use them or are empowered.” 6 Disadvantage of Microfinance In many countries, diverse studies show that targeting women in microfinance schemes is a direct challenge to cultural norms. Without parallel programmes which address gender issues, this has resulted in increased intra- and inter-household tension. There had been reported cases of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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