This year the Microfinance USA conference will be taking place in my home town of San Francisco. I am very excited to be attending and blogging on several sessions at the conference, and I see this as a great opportunity to continue my research on how basic financial products can be adapted for use by low income entrepreneurs.
Having worked most of my career in the banking industry, I am particularly interested in the session focused on “Serving the Unbanked.” There have been a number of recent articles in the press and blogosphere, lamenting the high cost of micro-credit and criticizing large financial institutions who appear to be reaping inordinate profits from their lending to low income clients. This is certain to be a hot topic at the conference and, as an experienced banker and volunteer with Grameen Foundation’s Bankers without Borders, it is a key issue that interests me.
Other sessions of interest include Microloan Management Services which will be covering the provision of portfolio management services for other MFI’s by ACCION Texas, as well as the Kiva Lender-Borrower Meet-UP.
Having worked as a banker in Asia I started learning about microfinance when I became a Kiva lender. Kiva has recently taken some criticism for extending its activities into the U.S market, however I think it is great to have Kiva’s network of lenders available to American low income entrepreneurs.
I anticipate the conference will provide much material for my blog. If you are able to make it to the conference let’s meet up; if not, follow my posts from the conference and here at Banking on the Poor.