Absolving the ‘Original Sin’ of Microfinance
Thursday, February 13, 2014
When revolution swept Kyrgyzstan in 2010, it brought waves of chaos and uncertainty. For the many micro-lenders operating in the country at the time – almost exclusively responsible for converting more stable currencies such as US dollars and euros into Kyrgyz som for their clients – bankruptcy was a clear possibility.
One of the largest microfinance institutions in the country, Kompanion, had $37m loaned out at the time, spread among 111,000 clients nationwide, according to Kompanion’s president and COO, Jim Anderson. “Because we are present across the country, when the violence erupted in Osh the impact on total portfolio was minimal,” he said.