Procredit Bank Armenia, the next ProCredit Bank to be sold…..

Picture1The sales process of Procredit banks continues… after they exited Africa in May 2015 and in December 2014 a few affiliate banks in Latin america (nicaragua, etc.) were sold, the same process seems to continue in Eastern Europe, where Procredit always held the largest part of its portfolio and made the largest share of profit. For a long time already, Eastern European Procredit banks were SME banks, and had already left the microsegment.

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Fintech company Mybucks buying 6 African MFIs?

mybucks.jpgProbably also since MyBucks is a Luxembourg based company, I felt even more surprised about the article “Mybucks and Opportunity International Partner to Drive Financial Inclusion for 460 Million Unbanked Citizens of Africa” I found in the internet.

Opportunity International, in their press release mentions that the microfinance network we all know, has entered into a share purchase agreement to sell six of their banks serving sub-Saharan Africa to the MyBucks Group, a Luxembourg-based financial technology (fintech) company which holds the three brands GetBucks, GetSure and GetBanked. Continue reading

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Impact ?! – Bamboo just launched their new report on their funds` impact

Bamboo Impact reportWell, now at the EIB as Microfinance Impact Investment Officer”, evidently I am very keen to learn what other investors or funders mean when they say “impact investing” of “impact financing”. In my layman understanding it is about generating – a part from a financial return – also a socio-demographic, environmental impact.

Bamboo, the equity investor, recently launched its impact report “Maintaining Momentum and Building Partnerships“. Continue reading

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EIB`s support of microfinance outside Europe


EIB ReM reportI had a meeting five weeks ago at the EIB and was going through their publications while waiting for my contact. I found some publications on their work on microfinance and small and medium enterprise (SME) finance, and thought I tell you about it as well as about their ReM, their Results Measurement Framework.

A few interesting facts:

The EIB is active within and outside the European Union helping leading microfinance providers, investment fund managers, and other stakeholders to increase sustainable and responsible access to finance; Continue reading

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2015 MIV Survey – Same same but a little different

Symbiotics 2015 MIV surveyI still remember how a CGAP colleague and I wrote the first report on investment funds investing into microfinance. The task was not so easy since the real financial sector terminology and our donor-focused microfinance lingo was very much out of tune. We would ask for “committed” capital or “disbursed” and where only answered by blank eyes or silence. It was difficult to report on debt and equity going into microfinance since we were also not quite clear if we were looking for the overall portfolio or the amounts newly invested every year. Some of the resulting CGAP publications were “MIV Performance and Prospects” and “Microfinance Investment Vehicles.” The investment funds were coined “microfinance vehicles (MIVs)”, the CGAP MIV Disclosure Guidelines were published, and the exercise is now in its ninth edition which is now prepared annually by Symbiotics. Their latest report just came out on September 15 2015 which they announced in a press release on September 16 2015. Let me  tell you a little about its findings: Continue reading

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Indian Agent Networks – or how to open 10million accounts in a week

Helix Agent Network Accelerator - India

Helix Agent Network Accelerator – India

The Helix Institute launched another of their Agent Network Accelerator Surveys. This time on India.

For those who do not know them yet, The Helix Institute of Digital Finance, was founded in November 2013 as a partnership between MicroSave, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), and the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). In Addition to world-class Training, they also conduct cutting-edge Research  on digital financial service Providers and I suggest you should definitely check out their blog and the discussion it generates on LinkedIn. Continue reading

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Online lenders – Threat or promise?!

lending-club_sYou might have already heard about Lending Club, Prosper, or OnDeck? In my initial understanding these online lenders offer loans more conveniently and with lower interest rates than a traditional bank, i.e., they provide access to credit to many who often have a light or no credit history. In 2014, USD 12 Billion loans were issued via online lenders representing only a fraction of the overall consumer and small-business lending market. But still! In addition, billions of USD of investment from hedge funds and other Wall street firms are flowing into These marketplaces , creating a seemingly endless capacity to extend more loans.  An article in the New York Times, “Pitfalls of the Unwary Borrower Out on the Frontiers of Banking” on September 13, 2015 presents the potential dramatic negative impact these loans can have. Continue reading

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Can the time I spent on Facebook determine my credit score? The birth of a Chinese Lending Club…

List of alternative data sources + social media…this is at least the hypothesis of China’s largest peer-to-peer lending site. They have  rated 50m Chinese consumers for creditworthiness using social networking and computer gaming data. i.e., if you spend a lot of time chatting on social networks or playing computer games, you might be helping your credit score.

The Financial Times launched an article “China P2P lender Banks on social media usage” which describes how China Rapid Finance has issued 3 Million P2P loans within 6 months with a credit Analysis that included a credit score based on consumers’ time and frequency on social media Websites. Continue reading

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My contribution to the Microfinance Barometer 2015! “DFS – what is it? and if yes, how many?”

MIcrofinance Barometer 2015Ok, ok, ok my article in the Microfinance Barometer is not a blog, but I still thought it might be interesting to feature it here. Digital Financial Services PLUS seem to be THE new thing in our sometimes a little odd world of access to finance. I had already written about DFS+ in Tanzania in an earlier blog, but hopefully the Microfinance Barometer 2015 will reach a lot more people.

For the 6th consecutive year, Convergences has published the Microfinance Barometer, in partnership with Fédération nationale des Caisses d’Epargne, The MasterCard Foundation, Caisse des Dépôts, the European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and Oikocredit. This annual publication contains up-to-date figures at world level and in France, analyses the major trends of the sector and takes a look at the new opportunities of microfinance in the countries of the global North and South. Continue reading

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Bitcoin! To regulate or not to regulate?!

luxembourg-630x420After having introduced the topic of “bitcoin” and how it could potentially relate to microfinance or support digital finance in developing countries (I am still not convinced, but am happy to be convinced otherwise), I now want to let you know about an article written by Jean-Louis Schiltz, a guest professor at the University of Luxembourg and legal advisor to several virtual currency companies (since his first involvement with bitcoin through MIT Media Lab, in which he examines whether it is possible for one place to emerge as the world’s bitcoin hub and whether regulation will have a hand in this. Continue reading

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