In many countries, including Uganda, Bangladesh, and Bolivia, microfinance has become more competitive in recent years. Competition is generally expected to benefit consumers by offering a wider choice of appropriate products and providers, better service, and lower prices.
Understanding client exit and nonparticipation can shed important light on the financial service preferences of clients and help programs learn about the limitations of their existing products and mechanisms. Such lessons can drive the development of innovative, demand-driven microfinance products and systems, benefiting both the institution and the clients.
This paper draws from research conducted in Brazil, Colombia, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Tanzania, and Uganda to look at how providers identify, classify, and manage risks related to the use of agents and how supervisors assess providers.
This Focus Note discusses the activities (and related risks) in which bank agents may engage, management and mitigation of agent-related risks, approaches to licensing and supervision of bank agent businesses, and possible corrective measures supervisors may take.
This paper highlights emerging lessons from the public funders that have been engaged in branchless banking. The goal is to help other funders consider the role they might play in this area. Branchless banking offers the potential to fundamentally transform the way low-income clients can access financial services.
Many in the private sector believe reaching large numbers of mass market clients is a precondition to large-scale profits, but at the same time, they are uncertain about how quickly branchless banking will gain traction with the unbanked, low-income clients who make up the mass market.
This Focus Note aims to do two things: (i) explore the various roles that MFIs can play in m-banking and (ii) explore the potential benefits MFIs and their customers expect to gain from pursuing m-banking.
The growth in online lending and investment platforms presents an opportunity and a challenge for MFIs intent on tapping the potential of online lenders or investors. This paper focuses on the demand side of the equation and highlights issues that MFIs may want to consider before signing up for a loan from an online lending platform.