Disclosing the Loan officer's role in microfinance development

Siwale, Juliana and Ritchie, John (2012) Disclosing the Loan officer's role in microfinance development. International Small Business Journal, 30 (4). ISSN 0266-2426

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Full text URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0266242610373687

Abstract

The financial exclusion of the developing country poor requires radically enterprising solutions. Hence microfinance originally aspired to intermediate through unique double bottom line initiatives which would supply more appropriate credit, then other ‘financial services’, in an essentially participatory, bottom-up way. This would simultaneously support local small scale economic activity while enhancing well-being and social/gender justice. However the frontline local officers originally recruited into microfinance institutions to help ‘empower’ the poor towards this end later adopted unexpectedly different roles. Using original data from Zambia this paper examines how this occurred in a frontier field situation. Here loan officers performed multiple, ambiguous, and changeable roles while their home institution first sought to decouple, and then prioritized its own immediate survival over its other founding aspirations. As they acted more like ‘loan repayment agents’ and ‘debt collectors’ than genuinely participative ‘facilitators’ supporting the poor, further, unintended consequences resulted. Any further decoupling and retreat from committed double bottom line working could bear heavily upon microfinance’s further/future development prospects.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:The financial exclusion of the developing country poor requires radically enterprising solutions. Hence microfinance originally aspired to intermediate through unique double bottom line initiatives which would supply more appropriate credit, then other ‘financial services’, in an essentially participatory, bottom-up way. This would simultaneously support local small scale economic activity while enhancing well-being and social/gender justice. However the frontline local officers originally recruited into microfinance institutions to help ‘empower’ the poor towards this end later adopted unexpectedly different roles. Using original data from Zambia this paper examines how this occurred in a frontier field situation. Here loan officers performed multiple, ambiguous, and changeable roles while their home institution first sought to decouple, and then prioritized its own immediate survival over its other founding aspirations. As they acted more like ‘loan repayment agents’ and ‘debt collectors’ than genuinely participative ‘facilitators’ supporting the poor, further, unintended consequences resulted. Any further decoupling and retreat from committed double bottom line working could bear heavily upon microfinance’s further/future development prospects.
Keywords:Loan officers, Microfinance, Poverty, Financial services, PRIDE Zambia, CETZAM
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N100 Business studies
Divisions:College of Social Science > Lincoln Business School
ID Code:2375
Deposited By: Juliana Siwale
Deposited On:28 Apr 2010 13:08
Last Modified:06 Dec 2013 09:18

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