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Balancing flexibility and discipline in microfinance: Innovative financial products that benefit clients and service providers

  • Michael Hamp
  • Carolina Laureti

Product innovation in microfinance is aimed at responding to the variety of poor clients’ needs, i.e. to develop and sustain the offer of a range of client-led products. The paper describes innovative market-oriented products that combine flexibility features with financial discipline. Those are microsavings, microcredit and microinsurance products and come from microfinance institutions worldwide. This review shows that service providers are introducing various types of flexibility into financial contracts; and that flexibility combined with appropriate enforcement mechanisms may enhance clients’ discipline. We notice, however, that flexibility may require information-intensive lending technologies, raising the MFIs’ costs of screening and monitoring clients, and have a limited outreach.

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Paper provided by ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles in its series Working Papers CEB with number 11-044.

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Length: 34 p.
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published by:
Handle: RePEc:sol:wpaper:2013/98728
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  1. Beatriz Armendariz & Ariane Szafarz, 2011. "On Mission Drift in Microfinance Institutions," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/97387, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Beatriz Armendariz & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "The Economics of Microfinance," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262512017, June.
  3. Jessica Schicks, 2010. "Microfinance Over-Indebtedness: Understanding its drivers and challenging the common myths," Working Papers CEB 10-048, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  5. Marek Hudon & Anaïs Périlleux, 2014. "What Explains Microfinance Distribution Surplus? A Stakeholder-oriented Approach," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152864, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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  8. Karlan, Dean S. & McConnell, Margaret & Mullainathan, Sendhil & Zinman, Jonathan, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," CEPR Discussion Papers 7907, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Bauer, Michal & Chytilová, Julie & Morduch, Jonathan, 2010. "Behavioral Foundations of Microcredit: Experimental and Survey Evidence from Rural India," IZA Discussion Papers 4901, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  11. Alexander Tedeschi, Gwendolyn, 2006. "Here today, gone tomorrow: Can dynamic incentives make microfinance more flexible?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 84-105, June.
  12. Weill, Laurent, 2010. "Do Islamic banks have greater market power?," BOFIT Discussion Papers 2/2010, Bank of Finland, Institute for Economies in Transition.
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  14. Jain, Sanjay & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2003. "A little at a time: the use of regularly scheduled repayments in microfinance programs," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 253-279, October.
  15. Marc Labie, 2009. "Microfinance:évolutions du secteur, diversification de produits et gouvernance," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/190766, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  16. Dean Karlan & Margaret McConnell & Sendhil Mullainathan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Getting to the Top of Mind: How Reminders Increase Saving," Working Papers 988, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  17. Masahiro Shoji, 2010. "Does Contingent Repayment in Microfinance Help the Poor During Natural Disasters?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 191-210.
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  19. Ximena Cadena & Antoinette Schoar, 2011. "Remembering to Pay? Reminders vs. Financial Incentives for Loan Payments," NBER Working Papers 17020, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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