Microleasing in Livelihood Restoration Following a Natural Disaster

Helping the poor replace lost productive assets through microleasing
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This paper explores the role of microleasing in disaster recovery.

Microleasing is now considered a viable option for quickly replacing productive assets lost by the poor in major disasters. In many ways, it can provide a win–win proposition to collateral-poor clients and liquidity-strapped financial institutions, as well as to donors and policy makers concerned about market distortions and creation of grant mentality.

Leasing usually incurs lower transaction costs compared to collateral-based term loans. Emerging lessons from the field demonstrate that:

  • Leasing facilitates client screening in times of distress;
  • Down payments can help reduce the lessor’s risk since he assumes the client’s business risk;
  • Choice of long-term credit-worthy microfinance clients helps reduce risks if down payments are not possible;
  • Microleasing provides an option for the poor to diversify livelihoods;
  • Microleasing can help in providing grants without creating market distortions and creating productive assets;
  • Microleasing can be provided through partnerships between MFIs with leasing companies, dealers and manufacturers;
  • Microleasing is not suitable for remote areas;
  • Liquidity-constrained MFIs will be unable to purchase assets to lease to clients.

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