Risk Management

Risk management involves making educated decisions about how much risk should be tolerated and how to mitigate and manage the risk that remains. Good management will limit risks linked to particular products, services, or transactions. Quantitative methods to identify, monitor, and control the different factors in play can be used to assess risk. Well-executed risk management can help to build credibility in the marketplace and create new growth opportunities. However, if risk is poorly managed, investors, lenders, borrowers, and savers may lose confidence in the organization, funds may dwindle, and the institution may not be able to meet its objectives and may eventually go out of business.

Microfinance organizations face many risks that threaten their long-term viability and sustainability. Disasters and conflict cannot be controlled, but can be prepared for, and their impact minimized. Internal issues, such as credit and liquidity risk, market and pricing, operation, compliance, and legal risks can be managed. Careful screening, monitoring and evaluation, accurate reporting, and a strong credit culture combine to provide the checks and balances needed for successful risk management.

Informed risk calculation allows an institution to assess new market opportunities, ensure existing operations are constantly improved, and deliver competitive, effective goods and services to its customers. This is particularly important to microfinance institutions involved in both financial and social objectives. The challenge is to nurture a culture that rewards good risk management without discouraging risk taking.

The FinDev Gateway has partnered with the Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM) and the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) to create these resources on Risk Management.  

Risk Management initiative in Microfinance logo

RIM is a collaboration of organizations that provides a platform for risk management standards development, information sharing, and cooperation in the microfinance industry.

Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) logo

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. 

Two hands creating a ceramic pot. Photo by Rajendra Malviya, 2012 CGAP Photo Contest
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RIM Risk Management Graduation Tool

Start by visiting RIM’s website and navigating through the guidelines proposed within the Risk Management Graduation Model (RMGM). The RMGM outlines the types of risk policies and limits as well as risk management and monitoring tools a microfinance institution (MFI) should have in place to formally manage risk. The RMGM framework can be used by MFIs, international networks, investors, national microfinance associations, and other stakeholders to improve risk management at the institutional level.

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Risk Management Graduation Model Assessment Tool

RMGM Assessment Tool

RIM has developed the RMGM Assessment Tool for both deposit-taking and non-deposit-taking MFIs which facilitates the assessment of an institution’s risk management structures against the Risk Management Graduation Model guidelines.


RMGM Assessment Tool How-To Video

RIM provides the RMGM Assessment Tool How-To Video as an industry resource which leads practitioners through the assessment of their institutional risk management capabilities.