Financial Services (105)
Finance fights poverty
Microcredit is the extension of very small loans (microloans) exclusively for women in poverty, with the goal of helping them cultivate business skills and entrepreneurship. Microcredit is a part of microfinace, which provides a wide range of financial services to the very poor.
Why it matters
Microcredit combines economically viable future growth for finance companies with a social benefit in the fight against poverty. Is this another example of how social causes can become an integral part of business practice?
One of the biggest challenges that poor urban entrepreneurs face is lack of access to capital. Banks and financial institutions are hesitant to lend to these individuals due to credit risk and small money lenders charge almost usurious interest rates. State Bank of India has developed a unique model where small sums (sometimes as low as $100) are loaned to individuals who form ‘Self Help Groups’ that together add up to a significant corpus. The bank benefits because the default risk is spread across multiple individuals in same social circle. Additionally peer pressure helps to prevent defaults.
In Japan, the Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank will offer card free ATM machines. Using only your pin code and your birthdate, the ATM will scan the palm of your hand to verify your identity. The bank offers this service to make sure you can always withdraw money, whether you forgot your wallet, you lost your card or you’ve been caught in a natural disaster.