In less than 40 years, microfinance has spread around the world, today providing access to credit and other financial services to more than 205 million poor clients,1 most of whom were previously ignored by mainstream financial institutions. From modest roots, microfinance has built a global network of institutions dedicated to serving low-income people. It has transformed our understanding about the power of opportunity.
In early 2011, a group of CEOs from microfinance organizations that work globally (including Women’s World Banking, Accion, Grameen Foundation USA, FINCA International and more) began to have regular, informal conversations about the future of the microfinance sector as it matures and faces new challenges. We found that we shared many of the same values and concerns, including a desire to work together to help improve our organizations and advance the industry. From these conversations emerged the Microfinance CEO Working Group.
Those values and concerns have led the Working Group to adopt a shared approach to the future of microfinance, which this paper outlines, and to urge others to endorse this approach. The attached Working Group Road Map lays out current challenges and key action initiatives for the coming year.