Microfinance institutions network
The MicroFinance Network is a global association of leading microfinance practitioners. The members of the MicroFinance Network are committed to improving the lives of low-income people through the provision of credit, savings and other financial services. The Network believes that this sector of the population should be served by sustainable and profitable microfinance institutions.
It was founded in April 1993 by participants of a microenterprise conference hosted by BancoSol in Bolivia. Seventeen microenterprise practitioners from around the world gathered to review the steps taken to transform a Bolivian NGO into Banco Solidario, the first Latin American private commercial bank dedicated to serving the micro market. They explored major challenges of transformation including acceptance by employees and management, the raising of capital from investors and negotiations with regulators.
At the end of the conference, participants agreed that the dialogue had been fruitful and should be maintained. They then established the MicroFinance Network to strengthen their individual efforts and facilitate the process of transformation.
In October 1994, the Network membership met in South Africa to share experiences, define their goals and objectives and establish membership selection criteria. Calmeadow's Martin Connell gave the keynote address challenging Network members to create ten to fifteen successful microfinance institutions worldwide which are fully self-sufficient and can access commercial financial markets to fund their growth.
Today, the members of the MicroFinance Network also include banks that are dedicated to the micro market. For the first time, this Network brings commercial institutions to a microenterprise forum, setting a precedent for the active involvement of formal financial institutions
in the micro sector.
The Network's mission is to:
- Promote the financial systems to micro sector finance among policy makers, donors and practitioners;
The members of the MicroFinance Network are committed to improving the lives of low-income people through the provision of credit, savings and other financial services. The Network believes in sustainable and profitable microfinancial institutions that reach a large number of clients who are not served by traditional financial institutions.
As models of the industry's potential, the members of the Network encourage commercial capital to participate in this sector in order to revolutionize the process of poverty alleviation. This select group shares the vision that the microenterprise market should receive financial services from commercially viable institutions.
Network Strategy1. Promote the sharing of experiences and the cross-fertilization of ideas within the Network through:
- observation visits between Network members
- annual Network conferences
- a clearing house of current research and publications in the field
- south-to-south technical assistance and inter-member staff exchanges
- a critical mass of microfinance organizations that have created, or are creating, formal financial institutions
- leading commercial banks that are dedicated to the micro-market.
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