Paper

Microcredit in Switzerland

How can stakeholders in Switzerland ensure that microloans reach the poor?
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This report investigates the demand for and the supply of affordable and accessible loans to the poor in Switzerland. It explores the volume and nature of demand for microloans based on results of national and local surveys. The report examines product supply through case studies of microloan providers. Finally, it identifies steps for stakeholders to ensure that microloans are available to those who need them, and are effective in poverty alleviation. World Microfinance Forum Geneva (WMFG) research points to a hidden demand for microloans. In the absence of national data to determine supply, WMFG identified and conducted case studies of some leading financial institutions. Recommendations include:

  • Federal and cantonal governments need to make microlending a priority and devise policies and incentives to stimulate its provision;
  • Banks and nonbanks need to increase transparency by sharing methodologies, lessons learnt, and results on outreach and profitability;
  • Microcredit providers need to invest in microloan product development, staff training, and ensuring viability of the microloan market;
  • Structured collaboration with selected business development service providers may help to deepen outreach to the poorest.