The global financial crisis affected microfinance institutions (MFIs) as lending growth was constrained by scarcer borrowing opportunities, while the economic slowdown negatively impacted asset quality and profitability. It also brought to the fore the relatively high interest rates that MFIs charge to their (low-income) customers. This paper revisits the issue of systemic risk of MFIs, and finds that contrary to the evidence before the crisis, MFI performance is correlated not only to domestic economic conditions but also to changes in international capital markets. It also presents an empirical analysis of lending rates with the purpose of informing policy decisions, and finds that loan sizes, productivity, and MFI age contribute to explain differences in lending rate levels. This suggest that regulation (and policies) promoting MFI competition, and innovation in lending technologies have a better chance to result in decreased lending rates.
This paper reviews the Fund’s access policy under its main financing facilities in the General Resources Account (GRA) and under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). It responds to the Board’s request for a periodic review of the access policy, that is, the rules and practices that govern the amount of financing the Fund makes available to its members.
This paper discusses operational aspects of official emergency liquidity support to individual institutions under stress. It argues that properly designed lending procedures, clearly laid-out authority and accountability, as well as disclosures rules, will promote financial stability, reduce moral hazard, and protect the lender of last resort from undue political pressure. Although there may well be good reasons to maintain ambiguity over the conditions for assistance, there are important advantages for developing, and for transition economies to follow a rule-based approach by setting out ex ante the necessary conditions for support, while maintaining that meeting such conditions is not sufficient for receiving support.