Editor's Note: Two weeks ago, I told you that the faiV would be off for two weeks, and that's technically still true, because this isn't the faiV.--Tim Ogden
1-4. An Experimental Podcast: Every month or so someone asks me if I've considered doing the faiV as a podcast. The answer is not really, because the faiV doesn't lend itself to audio at least when I'm not ranting. Also because I rarely listen to podcasts because I don't commute and realistically I'm never going to sit at my desk and listen to audio for 30 minutes or more.
But because of the Thanksgiving holiday and travel this week to European Microfinance Week I wasn't able to the faiV. So I thought it was a good time to experiment with an addendum to the faiV in podcast form. Thankfully Graham Wright of Microsave agreed to experiment with me. So we recorded a conversation about digital finance, its potential and its pitfalls, inspired by Graham's post, "Can Fintech Really Deliver On Its Promise For Financial Inclusion?"
We discuss whether mission matters, barriers to adoption, the tensions in building agent networks and why everyone who says "X is not a silver bullet" is lying. All in just over 30 minutes. Give it a listen and let me know if you'd like to hear more conversations like it.
Table of Contents:
1:45 - Can Digital Finance be Transformational for the Rural Poor?
3:51 - Does it matter that most DFS providers have never had a "pro-poor" mission?
7:54 - Does the US and microfinance experience foretell the future of digital finance?
13:42 - Biggest challenge for DFS: Lack of Education, Lack of Infrastructure or Lack of Consumer Protections?
21:50 - The Tensions of Agent Networks
27:00 - Financial Inclusion and Silver Bullets
31:13 - The Consequences of Removing Frictions
And because I can't stop myself, here are links to some of the things we talk about:
Graham's original post that inspired the conversation
Cathy O'Neil's book Weapons of Math Destruction
Cull, Demiguc_Kunt and Morduch: Microfinance Meets the Market and The Microfinance Business Model
[Note: Jonathan and I had a long email discussion today about whether my description of for-profits serving more poor customers overall, while non-profits are more likely to serve poorer customers and women is true given how the microfinance industry has rapidly evolved and the limitations to data. We didn't resolve the question.]
Mersland et. al. on loan officer "mission drift"
Don't Swipe the Small Stuff
MicroSave work on agents: Solving Agents' Liquidity Problems; Improving Agent Network Performance; Enhancing Agent Networks
5. the faiV Live: And if you really miss the faiV, the closest you'll get this week is the livestream of the closing session from European Microfinance Week where I'll be discussing the future of microfinance with Paul DiLeo, Renee Chao-Beroff and John Alex at 09:30 EST/15:30 CET.