Microfinance - Modes


Microfinance refers to small scale financial services for both credits and deposits- that are provided to people who farm or fish or herd; operate small or micro enterprise where goods are produced, recycled, repaired, or traded; provide services; work for wages or commissions; gain income from renting out small amounts of land, vehicles, draft animals, or machinery and tools; and to other individuals and local groups in developing countries in both rural and urban areas’- Marguerite S. Robinson

Microfinance Revolution occurred worldwide. In India it began in the 1980s with the formation of pockets of informal Self Help Groups (SHG) engaging in micro activities financed by Microfinance. But India’s first Microfinance Institution ‘Shri Mahila SEWA Sahkari Bank was set up as an urban co-operative bank, by the Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) soon after the group (founder Ms. Ela Bhatt)was formed in 1974. The first official effort materialized under the direction of NABARD.(National Bank For Agriculture And Rural Development).The Mysore Resettlement and Development Agency (MYRADA) sponsored project on “Savings and Credit Management of SHGs was partially financed by NABARD during 1986-87.

In India, the history of microfinance dates back to establishment of Syndicate Bank in 1921 in private sector. During the early years, Syndicate Bank concentrated on raising micro deposits in the form of daily/weekly basis and sanctioned micro loans to its clients for shorter period of time. But microfinance came to limelight only when Dr Yunus gave it a mass movement in Grameen Bank experiment.


Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) around the world follow a variety of different methodologies. The focus of such service is women rather than men for the reason women are more judicious and economical to men. The following are major methodologies employed by MFIs for delivery of financial services to low income families.


The Self Help Groups( SHGs) is the dominant microfinance methodology in India. In this case the members of Self Help Group pool their small savings regularly at a prefixed amount on daily or weekly basis and SHGs provide loan to members for a period fixed. SHGs are essentially formal and voluntary association of 15 to 20 people formed to attain common objectives. People from homogenous groups and common social back ground and occupation voluntarily form the group and pool their savings for the benefit of all of members of the groups. External financial assistance by MFIs or banks augments the resources available to the group operated revolving fund. Saving thus precede borrowing by the members. NABARD has facilitated and extensively supported a program which entails commercial banks lending directly to SHGs rather than via bulk loan to MFIs. If SHGs are observed to be successful for at least a period of six months, the bank gives credit usually amounting 4 times more than their savings.


In Individual Banking Programmes(IBPs) there is provision by Microfinance institutions for lending to individual clients though they may sometimes be organized into joint liability groups, credit and saving cooperatives. This model is increasingly popular through cooperatives. In cooperatives, all borrowers are members of organization directly or indirectly by being member of cooperative society. Credit worthiness and loan securing are a function of cooperative membership in which member‟s savings and peer pressure are assumed to be key factors. BAXIS a MFI based in Ahemadabad, offers both the joint liability group and individual lending loans in addition to loans to intermediaries. Bank of Rakyat at Indonesia, arguably the world‟s biggest and profitable microfinance institution is following this model.


 Grameen Model was pioneered by DR Mohammed Yunus of Grameen Bank of Bangladesh. It is perhaps the most well known and widely practiced model in the world. In Grameen Model the groups are formed voluntarily consisting of five borrowers each. The lending is made first to two, then to the next two and then to the fifth. These groups of five meet together weekly, with International Journal of Marketing, Financial Services & Management Research Vol.1 Issue 11, November 2012, ISSN 2277 3622 Online available at www.indianresearchjournals.com 148 seven other groups, so that bank staff meets with forty clients at a time. While the loans are made to the individuals, all in the group are held responsible for loan repayment. According to the rules, if one member ever defaults, all in the group are denied subsequent loans.

4. Mixed Model

Some MFIs started with the Grameen model but converted to the SHG model at a later stage. However they did not completely do away with Grameen type lending and smaller groups. They are a mix of SHG and Grameen model. The main difference between these programs is rather marginal. Grameen programmes have traditionally not given much importance to savings as a source of funds where as SHGs place considerable emphasis on the source of funds. The SHG programs have compulsory deposit schemes in which the members themselves determine the amount. The SHGs model is widely used in India. According to Vijay Mahajan (2003), Managing Director of BASIX, the SHGs and Grameen models offer economies of transaction cost to MFIs, but at the cost of members time because the unit of dealing is “group” rather than individual. In contrast, MFIs offering individual loans incur higher transaction costs for serving their borrowers. In summary, Exhibit 1 capture the appropriateness of each of the models described and discussed above.

Monday, 11th Apr 2016, 12:49:06 AM

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