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CGD Policy Blogs


Rare Canvassing of Client Voices in India

Ramesh Arunachalam's blog is following and commenting on the Andhra Pradesh microcredit crisis in detail. At least for an American outsider like me, the blog is a bit awkward and disorienting---there is no explanation of who the "Indian Micro-Finance Blog Team and Ramesh Arunachalam" are. But if you persist in perusing, you'll find content found nowhere else. It seems as if the author(s) come from the microfinance industry and yet are quick to criticize it, which gives them credibility.

They Told You So

MicroSave is a consulting organization that specializes in designing financial services for the poor from the basis of a strong understanding of client perspectives. They have people in the India, the Philippines, Uganda, and Kenya. Never heard of them? I have to say, among microfinance organizations, they are rather awkward in public. But if their outreach to people like us isn't slickest, perhaps that is because they spend their time talking to clients and industry insiders, developing subtle insights.

Mudimyal Dispatch

My last stop in India was Mudimyal, a village about 12 kilometers (7 miles) from Yarvaguda as the crow flies. Mudimyal has 25 self-help groups, which are "federated" into a Village Organization, a body whose membership is the head of the SHGs. The Mudimyal VO is turn federated with other VOs in its mandal, and mandal organizations are in turn federated at the district level, and district organizations at the state level.

Yarvaguda Dispatch

In my last post I wrote that microcredit bubbles are unusual among credit bubbles in not being linked to salable assets such as houses. I was wrong. In the late 1970s and early 1980s western and Japanese banks got very enthusiastic about lending to foreign governments, which, like poor people without collateral, are hard to foreclose on. Funny, this symmetry between the mightiest and weakest borrowers.