MicroBanking Bulletin Provides First Analysis of Impact of Global Economic Slow Down on Microfinance

Jan 21, 2010, 20:26 ET from Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc., a business information and data services provider for the global microfinance industry, announced the release of the latest issue of The MicroBanking Bulletin, the industry journal of microfinance performance. This issue of the MicroBanking Bulletin features financial and performance benchmarks from 1,084 MFIs (microfinance institutions) throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America for calendar year 2008, providing the first insight into the impact of the global economic slowdown on the microfinance industry.

"This data set is a view into the industry at the beginning of a challenging time for many microfinance providers. By the close of 2008, MFI growth rates had already begun to slow, and one of the first victims of the slower growth was operational efficiency," stated Blaine Stephens, COO and director of analysis at the Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc. (MIX), who provides in-depth analysis of the benchmarks in the MBB 19. "This likely is the result of two related factors: microfinance is a high touch business, and currently relies on significant human resources to deliver services to clients. Many MFIs made investments in training new staff in an expectation of steady growth rates, and when the economic slowdown hit, it left these organizations overstaffed. The other factor is rising portfolio arrears in a number of markets, causing staff to focus on ensuring current clients make payments, rather than sourcing new business."

In addition to the MFI benchmarks and analysis, the MBB Issue 19 features articles from some of the microfinance sector's leading actors. The articles in this issue address timely topics that have bubbled to the surface of microfinance recently, including an analysis of links between social and financial performance; expanding savings through distribution methods, such as mobile banking; the issue of pricing transparency; and a discussion of the evolving standardization of metrics.

The MicroBanking Bulletin No. 19 is available for free download at www.themix.org.

About MIX

The Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc. (MIX) is the leading provider of data, analytics and business information for the microfinance industry. Dedicated to strengthening the microfinance sector by promoting transparency, MIX provides detailed financial, operational and social performance information on those institutions that provide financial services to the world's poor. MIX does this through a variety of publicly available platforms, including MIX Market (www.mixmarket.org) and the MicroBanking Bulletin.

MIX is a non-profit company founded by CGAP (the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor) and sponsored by CGAP, the Citi Foundation, Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation, Omidyar Network, IFAD (International Fund for Agricultural Development), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and others. MIX is a private corporation.  Visit www.themix.org for more information.

Contact: Elizabeth Downs

Director of Communications

202-747-6228; edowns@themix.org

SOURCE Microfinance Information Exchange, Inc.