Paper

Microfinance and Banks

Proceedings from the European Microcredit Conference: "Training Sessions and Workshop", Belgium
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This presentation highlights the historical evolution of FiRST STEP MFI, working in Ireland. The organization is considered to be contributing towards the development of European microfinance.

The paper explores different services offered by FiRST STEP to its clients, which are: loans, business support and mentoring. The MFI extends its services to borrowers who are:

  • Unable to access credit from mainstream financial institutions;
  • Need financing for start-ups and early stage developments.

The presentation then states that First Step has business relationship with several European banks, investment funds, and lists the following types of loan products available for its clients:

  • First Step enterprise fund;
  • First Step back to work fund;
  • First Step and Bank of Ireland fund;
  • First Step and European Investment Fund loan guarantee scheme.

Under the business support services, it provides the following services:

  • Business planning and advice;
  • Networking events;
  • Direction and coaching.

The presentation mentions the various microfinance players, emphasizing on their need to attract and collaborate with mainstream banks. It states that in order to formalize MFI-Bank relationship the sector needs to:

  • Regulate borrowings;
  • Address legal issues;
  • Increase public awareness;
  • Encourage best practices.