One Size Fits Some: The Case against the Unregulated Growth of Microcredit
The growth of microfinance over the past two decades has been nothing short of astounding. Fueled by a mixture of good intentions and the potential to earn profit the industry quickly became the development world's new silver bullet to end poverty as many microfinance institutions (MFIs) enjoyed annual growth rates that surpassed 100%. However a series of crises towards the end of the last decade have shaken the foundation of the industry and left many looking for a new way forward. This thesis argues that these crises were the result of credit-first policies which strapped borrowers with insurmountable debt resulting in widespread default. An analysis of the growth of India's SKS Microfinance and Bangladesh's Grameen Bank will be used as evidence to support the prioritizing of savings products before credit as a way to protect borrowers from over indebtedness and to protect MFIs from themselves. The thesis finishes by looking at regulations enacted by the government of Ecuador in 2007 as a means to coerce MFIs into a savings based model which sacrifices short term rapid growth for the long term stable variety.
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