Microcredit loans fall for first time in 13 years
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
The number of people around the world who have access to microcredit financing has fallen for the first time in 13 years, reflecting turmoil in the sector and the fallout from the global financial crisis.
The total number of people with access to microloans and other financial services tumbled by 10 million in 2011 from a year earlier, an annual tally by the Microcredit Summit Campaign to be released Tuesday shows. It is the first decline since the organization began tracking these numbers in 1998.
Microcredit refers to small loans, given largely to low-income women who lack access to basic banking services so they can start small businesses, such as a fruit stand. The sector had ballooned since the 1990s, reaching hundreds of millions of people, many of whom rank among the poorest of the poor, and expanded to include insurance, savings and other financial products.