Responsible Microfinance: Survey Results

Is microfinance responsible and responsive?
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This paper presents results of a survey on responsible microfinance.

Once considered a socially conscious enterprise, microfinance has become a highly diversified business that shows a broad variety of interests and approaches to microlending. This change leads to questions about how responsible and responsive microfinance really is.

This survey was conducted on May 26, 2010 among 148 respondents. Participants included MFI staff, bankers, investors, development specialists, regulators, donors and business representatives. Survey results include:

  • Responsible microfinance is most often associated with fair lending practices, rather than with organizational transparency, client responsiveness or inclusiveness;
  • Only 57% of respondents think that MFIs follow the double-bottom line. Respondents in doubt think that MFIs use double bottom line as a slogan to make profits;
  • Over half the respondents think that MFI interest rates are excessive;
  • Most frequently proposed solutions to tackle high interest rates are improvements in MFI efficiency, increase in credit supply and MFI self-regulation;
  • Almost all clients think that clients should be protected against abuse through MFI self-imposed prudent behaviour, transparency and financial education;
  • Most respondents find it appropriate to have some sort of MFI screening in place.

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