Microfinance borrowers reach all-time high at 4 million

Published: June 21, 2016
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Growth driven by microfinance banks as borrowers, loan portfolio rise. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Growth driven by microfinance banks as borrowers, loan portfolio rise. PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

LAHORE: The first quarter of 2016 has recorded an upward trend in microcredit outreach with active borrowers reaching an all-time high of 4 million while the gross loan portfolio of the sector crossed Rs100 billion, said the Pakistan Microfinance Network quarterly report.

“Growth of microcredit outreach continues to be driven by microfinance banks (MFBs), whose active borrowers and gross loan portfolio increased 12.1% and 16.1% respectively,” it said.

Microfinance sector: Gross loan portfolio increases 39.3%

According to the report, in the Jan-Mar quarter, the National Rural Support Programme microfinance bank was the largest contributor. It added 59,210 new borrowers and increased its loan portfolio to Rs2.1 billion, becoming the fourth largest provider of microcredit in the sector.

The bank’s growth was fuelled by the livestock sector where 31,000 new borrowers were financed. It was followed by the agriculture sector that added 24,000 new borrowers.

“In terms of peer groups, microfinance institutions (MFIs) were the second largest contributor to the outreach growth, mostly owing to Akhuwat, which added about 57,189 new borrowers and has a loan portfolio amounting to Rs1.4 billion,” said the report.

Poverty alleviation: Expert says microfinance not effective in all groups

In terms of savings though, the number of active savers decreased marginally by 1.9%, whereas the value of savings posted a modest growth of 4.6%. “MFBs were the sole contributors to the active savers by adding 133,000 new deposit accounts; while non-bank microfinance providers witnessed a decline in active savers by 404,000,” added the report.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2016.

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