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The Exposure of Microfinance Institutions to Financial Risk


  • Gietzen, Thomas



This study examines the exposure of microfinance institutions to liquidity, interest rate and foreign exchange (FX) risk. It builds on a manually collected set of data on FX positions and the maturity structure of assets and liabilities of the largest microfinance institutions worldwide. The data suggests that microfinance institutions in the sample, on average, face no liquidity risk and that exposure to FX risk is lower than commonly assumed. Linking risk exposure to institutional characteristics, I find that legal status and regional affiliation are correlated with risk exposure while regulatory quality is not.

Suggested Citation

  • Gietzen, Thomas, 2015. "The Exposure of Microfinance Institutions to Financial Risk," Working Papers on Finance 1506, University of St. Gallen, School of Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:usg:sfwpfi:2015:06

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin Brown & Karolin Kirschenmann & Steven Ongena, 2014. "Bank Funding, Securitization, and Loan Terms: Evidence from Foreign Currency Lending," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 46(7), pages 1501-1534, October.
    2. Esmeralda A. Ramalho & Joaquim J.S. Ramalho & José M.R. Murteira, 2011. "Alternative Estimating And Testing Empirical Strategies For Fractional Regression Models," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(1), pages 19-68, February.
    3. Cull, Robert & Demirgüç-Kunt, Asli & Morduch, Jonathan, 2011. "Does Regulatory Supervision Curtail Microfinance Profitability and Outreach?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(6), pages 949-965, June.
    4. Mersland, Roy, 2009. "The Cost of Ownership in Microfinance Organizations," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 469-478, February.
    5. James R. Barth & Gerard Caprio & Ross Levine, 2013. "Bank regulation and supervision in 180 countries from 1999 to 2011," Journal of Financial Economic Policy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 111-219, May.
    6. Valentina Hartarska & Denis Nadolnyak, 2007. "Do regulated microfinance institutions achieve better sustainability and outreach? Cross-country evidence," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(10), pages 1207-1222.
    7. Papke, Leslie E & Wooldridge, Jeffrey M, 1996. "Econometric Methods for Fractional Response Variables with an Application to 401(K) Plan Participation Rates," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 11(6), pages 619-632, Nov.-Dec..
    8. Roy Mersland & Reidar Øystein Strøm, 2008. "Performance and trade-offs in Microfinance Organisations-does ownership matter?," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(5), pages 598-612.
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    More about this item


    Microfinance; Financial Risk; Liquidity Risk; FX Risk; Ownership; Regulation;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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