Factors Influencing Poverty Outreach Among Microfinance Institutions in Latin America

IFC partnered with the Grameen Foundation, the Cisco Foundation, and 14 MFIs that agreed to participate in this study. It covers six Latin American countries: Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. The study utilizes information these MFIs have collected in terms of poverty likelihood – using the Progress Out of Poverty® Index – supplemented by in-depth interviews with industry experts. The study found that MFIs that focus their commercial strategies in regions with higher percentage of poor reach more poor people. It also highlighted that the search for less competitive market segments – rather than principled mission statements – seems to be driving greater poverty outreach. This report also points to areas for further research. IFC is committed to this study of outreach, and development impact of microfinance institutions, and the market forces which affect them over time. By sharing the results of this research, and contributing to the debate around such topics, IFC seeks to support the development of the industry as part of its goal to reach universal access to financial services by the year 2020.