Microfinance center groups

In my recent trip to India (see other recent posts), viagra sale health we had the opportunity to visit a number of microcredit borrower group meetings. At Grameen Koota, find a rural MFI partner of Unitus based in the outskirts of Bangalore, site they meet weekly with the borrowers in what they call a “center meeting.” Each center meeting consists of women borrowers from the same area (usually one village) who know each other and consists of 4-8 sub-groups of 5 women (so total of 20-40 women in a center.) There is one women elected the leader of each 5-person group and then one women is elected as the center leader by the entire group.

At each center meeting, the agenda is as follows and generally takes from 30-60 minutes:

  • Speak pledges
  • Take attendance (if more than 10% of center members are not present, then no loans can be disbursed that week)
  • Borrowers make loan payments (principle and interest) which is recorded in their passbook. If anyone cannot make the meeting, they send along their payment with some who is attending. If someone cannot make their payment, the group must cover.
  • New approved loans are disbursed.
  • Loan officer requests any need for emergency loans and then disburses if approved by the group.
  • New loan applications are collected for later review.
  • General discussion on any issues/questions.
  • Speak pledges again

I took some videos of our group of Americans visiting two center meetings. We had the opportunity to ask the women any questions we wanted through a translator and they were eager and excited to respond. We asked questions about their businesses, how they were using the profits, about their challenges and what other services they would be interested in.

Video: A center meeting in a rural, very poor village near Bangalore

Video: A center meeting in a small rural town near Bangalore

5 thoughts on “Microfinance center groups

  1. Thanks for the nice reports, Dave, on your trip. I’m interested in finding out how technology can help microfinance operations. In particular, putting software programs running on cell phones into micro-entrepreneurs’ hands has had some benefits from what I’ve read. What did you see as far as technology use in India?


  2. Nice work! You guys are pushing some boundaries. If you can get English subtitles or a transcript for the two videos, it would be interesting to know what people were saying.


  3. Bob, I’ve asked Srikrishna from Unitus’s India team who specializes in technology solutions for MFIs to respond to your question. Stay tuned.


  4. Nick, I’m not sure enough of the conversation is discernable because of the poor audio recording. Essentially though the conversation is about questions us the visitors are asking the women. You can see that it was a very lively conversation. These women were excited to engage in conversation and had very specific opinions. The GK staff told us that this was a huge change from when they first met them and they were very shy and lacked confidence to speak their opinions. Later we met with a new borrower group which was only 13 weeks old. They were much more reserved and subdued demonstrating the point very clearly.


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