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Microfinance meets the market

Author

Listed:
  • Cull, Robert
  • Demirguc-Kunt, Asli
  • Morduch, Jonathan

Abstract

Microfinance institutions have proved the possibility of providing reliable banking services to poor customers. Their second aim is to do so in a commercially-viable way. This paper analyzes the tensions and opportunities of microfinance as it embraces the market, drawing on a data set that includes 346 of the world's leading microfinance institutions and covers nearly 18 million active borrowers. The data show remarkable successes in maintaining high rates of loan repayment, but the data also suggest that profit-maximizing investors would have limited interest in most of the institutions that are focusing on the poorest customers and women. Those institutions, as a group, charge their customers the highest fees in the sample but also face particularly high transaction costs, in part due to small transaction sizes. Innovations to overcome the well-known problems of asymmetric information in financial markets were a triumph, but further innovation is needed to overcome the challenges of high costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Cull, Robert & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Morduch, Jonathan, 2008. "Microfinance meets the market," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4630, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4630
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Expanding Credit Access: Using Randomized Supply Decisions to Estimate the Impacts," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 23(1), pages 433-464, January.
    2. McKenzie, David J & Woodruff, Christopher, 2006. "Do Entry Costs Provide an Empirical Basis for Poverty Traps? Evidence from Mexican Microenterprises," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(1), pages 3-42, October.
    3. Beck, Thorsten & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Martinez Peria, Maria Soledad, 2007. "Reaching out: Access to and use of banking services across countries," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 234-266, July.
    4. Xavier Giné & Pamela Jakiela & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Morduch, 2010. "Microfinance Games," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 60-95, July.
    5. Conning, Jonathan & Udry, Christopher, 2007. "Rural Financial Markets in Developing Countries," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, Elsevier.
    6. Robert Cull & Asli Demirguç-Kunt & Jonathan Morduch, 2007. "Financial performance and outreach: a global analysis of leading microbanks," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(517), pages 107-133, February.
    7. Morduch, Jonathan, 1999. "The role of subsidies in microfinance: evidence from the Grameen Bank," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 229-248, October.
    8. Ashok S. Rai & Tomas Sjöström, 2004. "Is Grameen Lending Efficient? Repayment Incentives and Insurance in Village Economies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(1), pages 217-234.
    9. Conning, Jonathan, 1999. "Outreach, sustainability and leverage in monitored and peer-monitored lending," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(1), pages 51-77, October.
    10. Mudit Kapoor & Jonathan Morduch & Shamika Ravi, 2007. "From Microfinance to m-Finance Innovations Case Discussion: M-PESA," Innovations: Technology, Governance, Globalization, MIT Press, vol. 2(1-2), pages 82-90, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Access to Finance; Debt Markets; Banks&Banking Reform; Emerging Markets;

    JEL classification:

    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • L31 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise - - - Nonprofit Institutions; NGOs; Social Entrepreneurship
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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