Microfinance is a sector of finance that provides banking services to low-income and unemployed individuals, as well as groups that don’t have access to traditional banking and finance services. With traditional banking, small loans to individuals and businesses are difficult to come by. Microfinance is an alternative way to provide credit in order to improve the financial standing of those living in poverty, often in developing countries.
Salary varies widely depending on role, education level, and location. Here is a sample of 2016 median salaries from the Occupational Outlook Handbook published by the Bureau of Labor:
- Financial Analyst: $81,760
- Loan Officer: $63,650
- Personal Finance Advisor: $90,530
Organizations and Alumni
This list is courtesy of Scott J. Budde, CFA, Bowdoin Class of 1981, as compiled for his book, “Compelling Returns – A Practical Guide to Socially Responsible Investing” (2008). This book, available in the Career Exploration and Development Library, is a great practical and detailed guide to the industry. Mr. Budde, a Managing Director at TIAA-CREF Asset Management, serves as the leader of TIAA-CREF’s Global Social and Community Investing Initiative. He has indicated a willingness to speak with Bowdoin students that are interested in socially responsible investing and microfinance.
- Accion: International microfinance network providing loans, guarantees, and equity investments to worldwide partners. They also operate in the United States, providing microfinance loans.
- Blue Orchard: Swiss-based investment firm with funds dedicated to international microfinance.
- Calvert Foundation: One of the oldest and largest socially responsible investment opportunities for community investing – U.S. domestic and international portfolio.
- Developing Work Markets: DWM is a leading boutique investment bank and fund manager focused on microfinance. DWM is based in Darien, CT.
- FINCA: Invest or donate in microfinance in FINCA programs worldwide.
- Fonkoze: Haitian microfinance institution that provides loans, savings, remittances, and educational opportunities for poor Haitians.
- Grameen Foundation USA: The GF Foundation is an offshoot of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The Grameen Bank an its founder, Dr. Mohammad Yunnus, were joint winners of the 2006 Nobel Peace Price for their pioneering work in microfinance.
- Kiva: Web-based marketplace where individuals can choose a client to lend to or donate money to for a micro-loan. Currently loans are 0 percent interest.
- MicroVest: MicroVest is a leading microfinance investing firm based in Washington, D.C.
- MIX – Microfinance Information Exchange: World’s leading information provider for the microfinance industry.
- National Community Investment Fund: The National Community Investment Fund invests private capital in, and facilitates knowledge transfer to, depository institutions that increase access to financial services in underserved communities.
- Oikocredit: Worldwide organization providing affordable loans to microfinance institutions, small businesses, cooperatives, and other economic development efforts.
- Prosper: Essentially a peer-to-peer lending site where individuals can participate in loans to individuals and small businesses in both the developed and undeveloped countries.
- ResponsAbility: Swiss investment firm with Luxenburg-based fund dedicated to microfinance.
- Rudolf Steiner Foundation (RSF): Invest or donate to a fund that provides loans for triple bottom-line efforts including microfinance, housing, economic development, and social enterprise.
- Share Interest: U.S. NGO provides loans to South African organizations to assist with microfinance, housing, and other economic development.
- Sostenica: U.S. NGO that raises money and loans for Nicaraguan microfinance institution, Ceprodel, that helps farmers and business people with sustainable agriculture.
- Unitus: A leading microfinance organization with investment or donation options related to financing microfinance for large-scale growth.
- Womens’ World Banking: A leading microfinance organization geared primarily around women and predominately supporting MFIs in Latin America.