> Posted by Jeffrey Riecke, Communications Assistant, CFI

Global loan portfolio growth in developing countries slowed in 2011; total number of clients in developing countries shrank slightly in 2011 but increased in Africa and Latin America; and various initiatives aimed at ensuring socially responsible practices have received commitments on industry-wide standards and frameworks over the past few years. These are some of the takeaways from this year’s Microfinance Barometer, an annual report produced by Convergences 2015 that offers a global overview of microfinance activity. The report series shares recent industry figures and trends, and highlights best practices across stakeholder groups.

This year’s report explores microfinance activity in developing and developed countries, and examines mobile money, capacity building, responsible investing, client protection, and social performance management, among other pertinent topics. The report also features an article from Deutsche Bank’s Asad Mahmood on microfinance and ethics, a feature on Accion Texas Inc., which manages the largest microloan portfolio in the United States, and a call to endorse the Global Appeal for Responsible Microfinance. Other key findings include:

  • Global loan portfolio in developing countries totaled $US 78 billion in 2011, with portfolio growth slowing to 15 percent compared to 25 percent in 2009
  • Activity in developing countries remained concentrated in 2011, as the leading 100 institutions represented 80 percent of the total lending portfolio and 75 percent of borrowers
  • Client outreach in developing countries totaled 94 million in 2011, reflecting a 3 percent decrease since 2009
  • Still affected by the Andhra Pradesh crisis and subsequent shutdowns of activity, in 2011 client outreach decreased by 10 percent in South Asia and by 20 percent in India
  • Client outreach increased by 15 percent in both Africa and Latin America in 2011
  • Local funding continues to drive the developing-country sector through increasing deposits and borrowings
  • In 2011, 54 percent of institutions in developing countries provided both credit and savings, while 26 percent offered insurance products, and 54 percent offered non-financial services
  • In 2011, 38 percent of microfinance clients in developing countries were rural borrowers, 73 percent were women borrowers, and 81 percent were clients with microenterprise loans
  • MFIs in Europe reported disbursing 204,080 loans in 2011, totaling a volume of roughly EUR 1 billion
  • There were 30 million active mobile money customers around the world in 2012
  • In a recent survey, more than 40 percent of financial services providers identified capacity building as their business’ main challenge
  • As compared to other regions, MFIs in Africa and Asia have not performed well recently in areas of social performance, though large ranges within regions have been observed

The publication was developed in partnership with the Caisse des Dépôts, Citi, the Fédération Nationale des Caisses d’Epargne, and the Mairie de Paris. For the full report, click here, and for previous years’ Barometers, head over to the Convergences website.

Image credit: Convergences 2015

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