> Posted by Philip M. Brown and Deborah Drake, Citi Microfinance and CFI

The Investing in Inclusive Finance program at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion explores the practices of investors in inclusive finance. Across areas including risk, governance, stakeholder alignment, and fund management, this blog series highlights what’s being done to help the industry better utilize private capital to develop financial institutions that incorporate social aims.

What will this year’s Microfinance Banana Skins Survey top message be? We are eagerly awaiting the responses to the recently launched 2014 Microfinance Banana Skins Survey from practitioners, investors, regulators, and other industry stakeholders around the world. These responses will provide insights into the greatest perceived risks facing the sector over the next few years and reveal the risks to be avoided on the path ahead.

The titles of the past four Microfinance Banana Skins surveys paint the picture of continuous sector evolution since the first publication in 2008. If previous titles are any indication, the new headline will set the tone and raise a debate around key risk issues.

Entitled “Risk in a Booming Industry“, the 2008 report highlighted concerns of microfinance institutions about “how to scale” in a healthy way. With changed economic realities, the external environment became the area of focus with “Confronting Crisis and Change” in 2009, and “Losing Its Fairy Dust” in 2011. The most recent survey in 2012, “Staying Relevant,” highlighted the changed setting for microfinance brought on by new entrants and new technologies. The titles and changing risk rankings reflect the increasing integration of microfinance into the broader financial ecosystem, and the challenges that microfinance clients and service providers encounter as the sector evolves.

Reflecting the shift in focus from microfinance to financial Inclusion, this year’s Microfinance Banana Skins survey has made a deliberate attempt to broaden participation from microfinance to a wider range of service providers, including new players in the evolving landscape of financial inclusion, and to rethink the risks relating to service providers, clients, and the market environment.

What will be the title of the 2014 Microfinance Banana Skins Survey? Perhaps this time the risk concerns will be more focused on the client?

If you have received the Microfinance Banana Skins questionnaire from CSFI, please take a very few minutes to complete it online TODAY if you have not done so already. The deadline for your input is Friday, the 28th of February.

Have you read?

Banana Skins 2012: Improving MFI Governance

Is Microfinance Losing Its Fairy Dust?  ‘Banana Skins 2011’ Holds the Answers

The Risk Management Initiative in Microfinance (RIM): Mapping the Road to Risk Management