Understanding the Opportunities and Challenges of the Market at the Bottom of the Pyramid
Washington, D.C., June 17, 2009– McGraw-Hill Professional has released Microfinance for Bankers and Investors, a road map for those ready to embrace the challenge of reaching deep into emerging markets to provide financial services to the so-called bottom of the pyramid (BOP) – the four billion people in the world who live on less than $3,000 per year.
Written by Elisabeth Rhyne, managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and one of the world’s foremost experts on microfinance, Microfinance for Bankers and Investors explores in-depth the challenges of profitably delivering credit, savings, insurance, and remittance services tailored to serve the BOP.
Noting that over the last six years, the microfinance sector has grown at an average rate of 30%, Microfinance for Bankers and Investors offers sixteen in-depth case studies that explore successful solutions in product design, last-mile delivery to remote villages and urban slums, and technological innovations that reduce costs and provide liberating new means of payment and remittance to populations previously tied to a cash economy.
At the outset of the book, Ms. Rhyne asks us to “imagine a world in which a farm couple in the highlands of Nicaragua saves enough money to provide for their old age, a slum dweller in Mumbai who falls ill gets medical treatment without sacrificing her life savings, and a snack vendor in Uganda borrows money and builds a small restaurant.” Mapping the path to such a world, Microfinance for Bankers and Investors details:
- The extraordinary social value and business sustainability of microfinance
- Changes in the market that allow for increased private investment in microfinance
- New technologies and delivery channels that reduce costs for small transactions
- Innovative products for grassroots finance, such as mobile phone banking and microinsurance
- Proven ways to overcome the unique challenges of serving customers at the bottom of the pyramid
Microfinance for Bankers and Investors educates potential microfinance investors in three ways: by reviewing authoritative research that demonstrates the investment opportunity; by analyzing success stories from around the world; and by identifying best practices. The sixteen case studies of ventures by companies including Citibank, Visa, and Sequoia Capital bring microfinance to life, recounting the motivations that led these companies into inclusive finance, obstacles and setbacks encountered, solutions developed in the field, and results to date.
About the Author
Elisabeth Rhyne is managing director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, where she works to bring together leaders in financial services to address challenges facing the microfinance industry today. Accion (www.accion.org) is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission of giving people the financial tools they need – microenterprise loans, business training and other financial services – to work their way out of poverty. Rhyne is the author of four previous books on the subject, including Mainstreaming Microfinance (Kumarian Press, 2001).
About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion is an industry-building initiative that works closely with a wide range of actors to tackle challenges surrounding financial inclusion. It is dedicated to the proposition that low-income people deserve high-quality financial services, and that those services are best provided through sustainable, commercial programs. The Center brings together nonprofits, commercial banks, technology firms, regulators, universities, and many others to address three principal topics: Investors and Microfinance, the Double Bottom Line, and Product and Process Breakthroughs. Using tools such as convening, coalition building, research, information dissemination, training and piloting, the Center is the next step in ACCION’s longstanding commitment to commercial microfinance. For more information, please visit: www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org.
Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
Tel. 202-393-5113, x1667