Snapshots: MFIs During the COVID-19 Crisis

To help fill the void of publicly available data on how COVID-19 is impacting the microfinance sector, CGAP and Symbiotics – a leading microfinance investment vehicle – have partnered to analyze data on the performance of the more than 300 microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Symbiotics global portfolio. We will publish our analyses on this page as a series of brief reports (“snapshots”) that include key indicators such as portfolio quality, moratoria, disbursements, repayments, and solvency as well as our insights around key developments and what they mean for the future.


Snapshot of July 21 COVID-19 Briefing

Global microfinance recovery continues, especially in Africa, but pandemic’s longterm impact remains uncertain (July 2021 Issue)

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) are starting to recover, particularly in Africa, and some have managed the crisis better than expected so far. However, the recovery remains fragile. There is pressure on asset quality, and questions remain about how restructured portfolios will impact MFIs’ longer-term solvency. Structural issues at the macro and country levels, coupled with the slow rollout of vaccines in many regions, contribute to fragility.

Cover of report

Resilient Microfinance Industry Signals Path Toward Cautious, Gradual Recovery (April 2021 Issue)

The microfinance sector remains resilient and on its way to a cautious and gradual recovery, but the pace depends on type of institution, region, and capital buffers. Portfolio at risk and loans under moratorium continued to decline at the end of 2020. Portfolios grew, but borrower growth is stagnant or in decline. A survey in Latin America reveals MFIs there may face significant impacts if restructured loans underperform.

COVID-19 Snapshot February 2021

Microfinance Institutions Maintain Rebound, but Solvency Questions Loom (February 2021 Issue)

As of October 2020, MFIs remain resilient and have managed to stop the negative trends reported in the first half of 2020. However, profitability levels could weaken further, depending on the ability of MFIs to recover their restructured portfolios and manage potential solvency challenges. CGAP and Symbiotics ran a simple stress test assuming 20 percent of troubled portfolio resulted in losses. In this scenario, total loss of equity reaches $4 billion.

Thumbnail of Nov. 2020 issue

MFIs on the Rebound, But Will It Last? (November 2020 Issue)

A fairly consistent rebound since May could be leveling off, with both disbursements and repayments flattening or contracting again across nearly all regions. Moratoria are diminishing across nearly all regions, and portfolio at risk appears to be growing as a result. While portfolios have been recuperating, MFIs are taking a more conservative approach that curtails access for some clients and focuses on larger loan sizes.

Related resources

CGAP Global Pulse Survey of Microfinance Institutions (June - December 2020) 
The CGAP/Symbiotics MFI Snapshots series builds upon the findings of CGAP's pulse survey of microfinance institutions, which launched in the earlier months of the pandemic and concludes in December 2020.

Crisis Roadmap for Microfinance Institutions: COVID-19 and Beyond
This crisis response roadmap is designed to help MFIs navigate the COVID-19 health pandemic and its economic impact, and to provide guidance on recommended practices that are relevant today and for future crises.


Sub-topics: MFIs