Micro-finance and Financial Inclusion (FINC-937-0)
Microfinance can be defined as “the supply of loans, savings, and other basic financial services to the poor” (CGAP). Historically excluded by traditional financial service providers, the majority of the world’s 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 per day have no access to formal savings, loans, insurance, and/or payment services. Over the past 40 years, specialized microfinance institutions (“MFIs”) have sprung up globally to meet the financial needs of the poor while claiming to help lift people out of poverty.
This class provides an in-depth overview of the global microfinance industry, tracing its evolution from an NGO-dominated movement to an increasingly commercial $100 billion industry. Readings, lectures and case studies will be used to investigate current microfinance practices and to highlight some of the current industry controversies, including interest rates, commercial investment, over-indebtedness and social impact.
The course also explores how microfinance has paved the way for a broader set of new financial inclusion efforts around the world, an initiative now championed by the World Bank and United Nations to promote universal financial access by the year 2020. Specifically, students will learn the ways in which banks, credit card issuers, mobile network operators, retailers and fintech startups are seeking to profitably serve low-income and unbanked consumers around the world.
Full-Time: (FINC-430-0 OR FINC-440-0 OR FINCM-430-0)
E&W: (FINC-430-0 OR FINC-440-0)
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