Thitsar Ooyin Microfinance Company Launches in Myanmar

Thitsar Ooyin microfinance has been launched in Myanmar and is now governed by Myanmar law. The company is interested in activities that generate income and also the provision of loans to the marginalized people in the community. International development NGO GRET founded the company as a continuation of the microfinance activities that GRET has to initiate for more than 20 years. The first Myanmar microfinance institution was created in 1995 in Chin State which is an isolated mountainous region in North-West Myanmar. Following the success of the first organization, GRET decided to expand the financial inclusion service through the creation of a second institution In Myanmar region. Through constant support from The Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), the two organizations have enjoyed financial stability.

Through their services, Thitsar Ooyin empowers the rural population and enables them to increase their salaries through the provision of loans that are adapted to suit the situations. The credits are used in the growth and development of informal activities which is mostly inclusive of farming, livestock, and trade. Individual’s loans are further provided by the company for the promotion of micro-businesses. Thitsar Ooyin has eight branches and around 80 employees who work in service of the people. GRET implements solidarity in their services, and Thitsar Ooyin shares the same value to ensure positive development.


Recovery of Microfinance Industry from Note Ban

After the government announced note-ban on November 201, loan repayment took a critical hit I the cash-based sector. The situation got worse when the government also announced a farm loan waiver which saw small borrowers in five states including Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh stop repaying loans. In the eastern part of Maharashtra, the Vidarbha region suffered 35% of the loan write-offs.

Bandhan Bank managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh said at the Eastern India Microfinance Summit that there had been difficulties in the collection of debts after the announcement of demonetization, but they were gradually petering out. However, they had not made substantial write-offs.

Ujjivan Small Finance Managing Director Samit Ghosh said that things would improve at the end of the fiscal as they are on the last leg of the demonetization effect. The holding firm for the small bank, Ujjivan Financial Services, has written off loans worth Rs 300 crore.

Kolkata-based Village Financial Services a microfinance industry that was adversely affected by the demonetization has a Rs 510 crore portfolio. It intends to expand to states such as Mahya Pradesh and Jharkhand. Citing that, the microfinance industry will take another six months for full recovery from the blow.

According to Ratna Vishwanathan, former CEO of Microfinance Institutions Network-MFIN, non-performing assets have dropped from 23 percent after the demonetization to 4 percent now, in one year and this is expected to fall further to 2 percent onwards.

Propelling Financial Inclusion Through Microfinance

The microfinance industry is an excellent platform that the government can use propel its agenda of financial inclusion since they help to reach out to the unbanked population. That lacks has limited access to commercial credit. Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) led by Ratna Vishwanathan, promotes responsible lending, client protection, good governance and an enabling environment in microfinance. It is composed of Self-Regulation, Advocacy and Development, Communications and Marketing and State Initiatives that bring focus to the priorities of microfinance. The microfinance sector in India helps to emphasize the financial inclusion policies. The industry launched an employee bureau recently in partnership with global information solutions company Equifax to empower microfinance institutions more.

Microfinance institutions are challenged by attrition and leakage of information. The employee bureau will thus enable the organizations in addressing the amorphous structure of employees across the microfinance industry. The agency will further help in the maintenance of a database that contains details of the staff which will help MFIs in the improvement of quality hiring practices through a better pas employment check. Through the adoption of a cashless approach, MFIs are making disbursement faster and have been researching identity the efficient methods that can be used while going cashless.

Anxiety as Microfinance Banks Risk Account Forfeiture

Fearful anticipation loomed amongst customers of microfinance banks following the deadline expiration of penultimate on Friday, especially for those who are yet to enroll for the compulsory BVN (Biometric Verification Number.

An investigation by The Nation disclosed that about 5 million accounts might be shut down due to failure to comply with the BVN order in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria mandate.

CBN had extended the BV enrollment from 31st July 2017 to 31st December 2017. Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, the Director for Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, announced this extension citing that all customers without BVN attached to their account would not be entitled to debit operations starting 1st January 2018.

Given that commercial banks have prevented customers from accessing their accounts without BVN, it has given most microfinance bank customers reason to worry about the fate of their accounts if they enforce the BVN order.

Nonetheless, Rogers Nwoke, the Managing Director of Hasal Microfinance Bank, while speaking to The Nation, confirmed that the deadline for microfinance banks’ customers has since elapsed and thus they shouldn’t be the reason for anxiety whatsoever. The reason given was that microfinance has since acquired BVN machines. As such in the case a customer comes to a microfinance bank and cannot do a transaction because they do not have a BVN, they would be guided to a BVN machine to do his enrollment.

Wan Word Unit Organization Boosts Women on Micro Credit Support

Wan Word Unit Organization (WWUO) has taken up the initiative of boosting people especially women in microfinance. The organization which is newly established is situated at Water Nar Life in Moyiba community. It has provided identity cards to members and created an account with United Bank of Africa to ensure transparency and accountability. The Chairman of WWUO, Mr. Yusif Kamara, expressed his contentment of their achievements which have been rapid due to the commitment and hard work. The organization hopes to establish a microcredit unit to promote women entrepreneurs and men as well. It has continually provided the financial grant to eligible female members to balance gender equality in the community since women are the most vulnerable people. Mr. Kamara said that women had played a significant goal in the development of the organization through financial support meant to promote the engagement of the community through the approach of diplomatic procedures.

WWUO has decided to ten members through microcredit support with minimal interest that will go back to safekeeping. The chairman urged he selected women to make proper use of the money for its intended purpose so that more women can also benefit from the program. The organization hopes to create a revenue mobilization unit for the transformation and sustaining its running and functionality.

Demand for Microcredit in 2018

Gillian Hyde, the general manager of JN Small Business Loans Limited, has made predictions of a consistent demand for microcredit in2018. The new loans are expected to be a range of 30-40 percent based on the requirements from the previous trends. In the 2017 fiscal year, Hyde wrote $4.2 billion of new loans and the predicted level of the original businesses would push the value above $5 billion. According to Hyde, the JN group hopes to promote the development of better saving habits and making of investments in education, healthcare, and other essential aspects. The company is committed towards the development of their clientele.
JNSBL which is the premier micro and small business institution in Jamaica has outranked many microlenders and swallowed some of the companies. It is among the leading microfinance institutions with a $2.7 billion asset base by the end of March 2017. The company has witnessed an average growth of 30, and 40 percent and Hyde predicts that the growth will continue based on the growth of the demand for loans. The micro-financing sector has a lot of players that are mostly private. JNSBL distributed loans in different areas inclusive of retail, distribution, tourism, and manufacturing among others.

Women Empowerment Requires Both Men and Women

Women have become the point of focus in policy development over the past decades owing to the grounded belief that the economic inclusion of women is one of the most unexploited opportunities for life improvement. Microfinance became prominent in the 1990s and 2000s for successful ventures in women borrowers and micro entrepreneurs. The success rates and global achievements in women’s economic empowerment initiatives are promising.
However, despite this, there is mounting evidence that directing these projects only towards women while neglecting men may make them less efficient in helping women in the long run. When men are not treated with the same resources and advantages as the women, they are likely to feel they are losing their power relative to women. As a result, they are likely to undermine these same projects. Most especially, given that they still control most of the resources.
Women may lead and have it all, but they cannot do it all by themselves. Keeping in mind that most social structures are still patriarchal, focusing on women alone may come out as counterproductive or even very harmful. Excluding men drive them to feel disempowered and as such oppose the same women involved or interfere with their success. Were men to be given equal access to loans and training or made aware of the importance of project participation they may not as much lash out against female project participants.