From the Margins to the Mainstream: The Challenges for Microfinance in Australia
This report examines the issues and challenges facing the microfinance sector in Australia.
Research, policy forums and debate have continuously raised three challenges for microfinance development in Australia. These include the sustainability, scaling up and evaluation of programs, with a focus on their impact on financial exclusion.
The paper suggests broadening the definition of financial exclusion and undertaking more empirical work to examine the extent of exclusion and the potential demand for microfinance. Other recommendations include:
- Give greater focus to products and services that people are excluded from;
- Publish data on the true costs of microfinance program service provision;
- Move programs beyond pilot phases to building scale;
- Support programs that examine how microfinance could extend outreach to include the most vulnerable people in society;
- Ensure that government, community and financial institutions use a variety of approaches to trial and document microfinance initiatives;
- Channel greater investment into independent reporting on the impact of microfinance initiatives.