Reaching the Hard to Reach: Summary Document and Guide
This paper summarizes findings of a study that aimed to identify the potential of member-owned institutions (MOIs) and their support structures to serve remote rural populations, particularly the poor. The study, spanning three years, included a literature review and seven case studies. Findings include:
- Three key drivers of outreach are internal governance, networking and linkages, and regulation and supervision;
- Governance is one of the biggest challenges for MOIs in remote areas;
- Linkages help overcome limitations of funds, capacity and scale, but are problem-ridden;
- Development of effective regulation and supervision is very important to improving MOI outreach;
- MOIs reach more and poorer markets than other financial intermediaries;
- Use of groups and associations can reach large numbers quickly;
- Large, linked or federated MOIs have more scope, but small MOIs compensate with flexibility;
- Small MOIs are generally cheaper to members;
- Members value proximity, loan size and quick emergency access;
- Unlinked, time-bound groups have more potential for quick, sustained outreach.
Finally, providing simple, appropriate regulation, systems and technical support is crucial to strengthening MOIs' outreach, which fills a void by serving remote, rural areas.