Historically excluded by traditional financial service providers, the majority of the world’s three billion people living on less than $2 per day have no access to formal savings, loan, insurance and payment services. Over the past 35 years, specialized microfinance institutions have sprung up around the world to meet the financial needs of poor people and help lift them out of poverty. This class provides an in-depth overview of the global microfinance business, tracing its evolution from a social, NGO-dominated movement to an increasingly commercial $50-billion industry. Readings, lectures and case studies will be used to highlight current microfinance practices and explore how global capital markets are responding to the huge latent demand for financial services from the poor. Students will also learn how international microfinance models have been applied to low-income and underbanked segments of the U.S. economy and what lessons can be learned from domestic institutions seeking to serve this market in a profitable way.
All Students: FINC-430-0 OR FINC-440-0
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