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Mercy Corps Microfinance Network

Total Disbursed Loans 1,351,511
Total Disbursed Amount $1.40 billion
Total Loans Outstanding $327 million
Active Clients 244,315
Percent Women Clients 63%
Total Assets $435.3 million
Total Equity $85.4 million
Average Disbursed Loan Size $1033

Over the last 30 years financial services for the poor has been one of the key innovations in international development. Microfinance has become one of Mercy Corps’ core competencies — an essential part of its integrated programming approach to helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Mercy Corps works via 12 direct financial service providers, reaching over 244,000 clients with $327 million in outstanding loans.

It is expanding its competencies by pushing the envelope on badly needed services and innovations to enable to next generation of microfinance. Bank Andara, a wholesale commercial bank for the Indonesian microfinance industry, is one of the largest in the world and provides meso-level support as well as pioneering IT and back-office solution. The Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation (MiCRO) is solving critical technical challenges of providing risk management to those living in poverty and scaling it around the world.

Mercy Corps’ core competencies in economic development are in three primary areas: Access to Financial Services, Market Development and Integration of Economic Development with cross-cutting themes, particularly conflict resolution, health, natural resource management, gender and youth—all with an emphasis on inclusive, community-based approaches. Within Access to Financial Services, Mercy Corps has expertise in group and individual lending, MFI commercialization, governance, new product development, social performance management and use of ICT to reach remote areas.

Mercy Corps does not replace existing financial service providers but rather identifies gaps in service areas and designs interventions to fill those gaps. Thus, Mercy Corps has established greenfield MFIs, built capacity in existing MFIs, structured loan guarantee programs, created meso-level support service organizations and apex lending institutions and accessed international capital markets to expand lending portfolios. Targeting areas of greatest need, Mercy Corps brings this expertise to areas of the world which are in or have recently experienced conflict, disaster or painful economic transition.

Click here for the members of Mercy Corps’ Financial Services Network.

Key strengths in financial services programming include:

Context-focused

  • Demand-driven microfinance instruments based on local needs.
  • Tailored programs specifically designed to meet the wider needs of the community.

Sustainable

  • Developing growing, diversified portfolios of micro and small businesses, implemented through both group and individual lending models, that enable clients to access larger loans, expand their businesses and generate additional income and create employment opportunities.
  • Creating strong institutions through capacity building and technical assistance to ensure sustainable microfinance institutions, capable of operating independently after Mercy Corps has exited a country.

Integration

  • Microfinance and business development services as an integral part of broader programs, including support for civil society, community development, agriculture and health programs.
  • Development finance, which transcends finance alone, and results in sustainable institutions which provide leadership, Social Performance Management and are models of good governance for their communities.
  • Building institutions which eventually have the capacity and resources to expand, in partnership with Mercy Corps, beyond their home borders.

Best practice

  • Charge market-based interest rates to achieve sustainability.
  • Develop innovative, demand-driven products and services.
  • Implement industry best practice techniques including transparent financial reporting, state-of-the-art MIS systems, external audits, Social Performance Management, sound governance, and fair lending practices.

Innovative

  • Pioneer, develop and disseminate new methodologies of proven value, such as rural credit and savings cooperative franchising, and “bank of banks” wholesale lending and retail products to support MFIs.
  • Pilot youth microfinance performance measurement program.
  • Apply cutting-edge Social Performance Management techniques.

Selected Activities & Accomplishments of the Mercy Corps MF Network

Growth and Scale

  • 59% average annual growth in loan portfolio over the past three years, where the majority of institutions are located in countries with small populations (less than 15 million).
  • $69 million of savings mobilized; several Mercy Corps affiliated MFIs pursuing licenses to accept deposits.
  • Training, technical assistance, ratings, research, networking provided through MICRA (Microfinance Innovation Center for Resources and Alternatives) a local meso-level support service foundation established by Mercy Corps in Indonesia.

Impact

  • Loan guarantees employed in Mongolia, Banda Aceh, Georgia and Niger resulting in increased competition and lower interest rates and collateral requirements for borrowers.
  • XacBank launched a new initiative with funding from Nike Foundation and Womens World Banking to develop innovative savings products and services designed toward the needs of young women and girls.
  • Led an international investor group in the establishment of Bank Andara, a specialized wholesale microfinance bank in Indonesia; the demonstration effect will increase competition and spur lending among +50,000 MFIs throughout this country of 245 million.

Awards and High Ratings

  • Mercy Corps affiliated MFIs (XacBank and Partner) included in The MIX Global 100 Composite rankings for 2007 and 2008; Partner also included in Forbes Top 50 Microfinance Institutions.
  • Mercy Corps’ MAXIS (Maximizing Financial Access and Innovation at Scale) was launched to expand access for low income people to microfinance in Indonesia and the Philippines by working with MICRA to build capacity, transparency and performance. The MAXIS program was awarded Social Enterprise of the Year from Fast Company magazine in 2008.