It is clear, and now generally accepted, that poor people want, need and do indeed save. Low income clients have limited access to formal and regulated financial services and thereby resort to semi-formal service providers. This further aggravated with MFIs being prohibited from offering savings as a service for poor.

The present note discusses the needs, financial behaviour and the financial landscape of the clients. It discusses this through two case studies on how women have benefited from microfinance institutions.

The note concludes by saying that microfinance can play a key, cost-effective and sustainable role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if we build flexible and reliable financial services that respond to the real, diverse needs of the poor and vulnerable.

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