Big Questions in Credit

August 2013
By FAI

Big Questions in Credit
“Does microcredit work?” It’s a question we hear a lot. But the answer depends on what the question really is. Does microcredit slash poverty? (Not clearly.) Does microcredit increase micro-enterprise profit? (Some of the time, but capital often gets channeled to other uses and not everyone is a great entrepreneur.) Does microcredit improve the lives of borrowers? (Yes it can, but seldom dramatically and sometimes microcredit can get borrowers into trouble.) Rather than being a single tool used to solve a single problem (like funding a business), microcredit is often one among a set of tools, whose usefulness as a set may be fundamental but whose individual impact is often incremental and thinly spread.