When traditional banks are unwilling or unable to operate, deep-rooted poverty, aid-dependency or local loan sharks often move in to fill the gap. Microfinance can prevent this happening, by offering a more positive long-term solution.
Approximately 68% of our partners within the region are Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) and 75% of our outstanding loans are to MFIs.
When we use the term MFI, we include the following types of institution within our definition:
- MFIs include organizations making loans to micro-entrepreneurs, farmers and households.
- There are financial institutions that lend to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and wholesale lenders that support smaller organizations such as credit unions.
- We also support multi-purpose institutions that combine microfinance with community services in health or education.
The number of people reached by Oikocredit International's microfinance partners increased to 28 million in 2012. Of the total number of clients reached, 84 % are women and 56 % live in rural areas. Of the 46% of microfinance partners with a gender policy, 76 % offered financial products specially geared towards women.