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Microfinance Symposium

Research Symposium: Credit Markets for the Poor


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Microfinance Book Cover

Highlighting recent practical innovations and policy questions in the field of microfinance by scholars and practioners who spoke at this conference.

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This research symposium brought together practitioners, scholars, and policy makers interested in improving the access to credit markets for the poor. Topics included the existing state of borrowing rates, default rates, and the methods used for financing and risk management of micro-loans, which is a specific method for lending to poor. In addition to informing the participants about the existing state-of-the art practices in microfinance, the symposium also identified major research questions facing this area in the years to come, and resulted in a publication: Microfinance: Emerging Trends and Challenges, edited by Suresh Sundaresan, the Chase Manhattan Bank Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School.

Read a student article about the symposium proceedings.

Friday April 20th, 2007
8:30 AM – 4:15 PM

Venue: The Italian Academy
1161 Amsterdam Avenue (between 117th and 118th Streets)
New York (directions and online map).

8:30 – 8:45 AMBreakfast and Conference Registration.
8:45 – 8:55 AMWelcome and Introduction
Professor Ray Horton

Director of the Social Enterprise Program.
9:00 – 9:30 AMAcademic Presentation: "Overview of Credit Markets for the Poor"
Professor Patrick Bolton

Columbia Business School.
Based on a book edited with Howard Rosenthal.
(15 minutes presentation, 15 minute Q & A)
9:30 – 10:15 AM

Academic Presentation: "The Next Billion Microfinance Customers"
Professor Jonathan Morduch

New York University.
(20 minutes presentation, 25 minute Q & A)

10:15 – 10:30

Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:00

Practitioner panel discussion: "Risk Assessment and Management with Capital Markets"
Moderated by Professor Chris Mayer, Columbia Business School.

Brad Swanson, Partner at Developing World Markets:
Financing of Micro-loans and the Role of Capital Markets (download PDF).

Ray Rahman, Co-founder of MF Analytics and the Founding Partner of RSA Capital with Saif Shah Mohammed, Co-founder of MF Analytics:
Securitization of BRAC – “Micro-Credit Backed Security (MCBS)”; lessons for managing risks using capital markets (download PDF).

Damian von Stauffenberg, Founder and Principal of MicroRate:
Survey of Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIVs) and Rating MFIs (download PDF).

12:00 – 1:30 PMBreak / Buffet Lunch
1:00 – 1:30 PMLunch discussion with Mini Roy, Managing Director, Export & Agency Finance at Citigroup Global Markets:
“A Practitioner’s Perspective on Challenges in the Field of Credit Markets for the Poor and Key Future Research Issues and Data Collection.”
1:30 – 2:00 PM

Academic Presentation: "Gender Empowerment"
Beatriz Armendariz
(download DOC)
Harvard University.
Based in part on joint work with Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard) and Dean Karlan (Yale).
(15 minutes presentation, 15 minute Q & A)

2:00 – 2:30 AMAcademic Presentation: "Defaults and borrowing rates in micro-loans: some evidence, and the role of contract design and competition" (download PDF)
Professor Suresh Sundaresan, Columbia Business School, with Sam Cheung (Columbia).
(15 minutes presentation, 15 minute Q & A)
2:30 – 2:45 PMBreak
2:45 – 4:15 PM

Practitioner panel discussion: "Risk Sharing with Banks, Regulatory Challenges, and Technology in Lending"
Moderated by Professor Suresh Sundaresan, Columbia Business School.

Richard Rosenberg, CGAP and World Bank:
Overview of regulatory challenges; issue of money laundering control and how it has affected the funds flow in micro-loans markets (download PDF).

Bindu Ananth, ICICI Bank:
Partnership Model to Managing Risk in Lending to Micro Borrowers (download PDF).

Anand Shrivastav, Suvidha:
Cell Phone Technology for Delivering Micro-Loans (download PDF).

Researchers and faculty who would like to attend future symposiums can contact:


2014 Social Enterprise Conference

Millennials Rising: What's Next for Sustainability?

When: October 31, 2014,
8:30 am-6:00pm

The Marriott Marquis
1535 Broadway, New York, NY 10036
Between 45th and 46th Streets
New York, NY 10036

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The annual Social Enterprise Conference at Columbia Business School brings together thought leaders from across private, nonprofit, public, and academic sectors to share best practices, debate critical issues, and collaborate on innovative concepts to inspire change. Through interactive sessions, keynote speakers, workshops, a pitch competition, and networking opportunities, the conference presents guests with the opportunity to partake in the most important business and societal conversation of this new era. For updates on speakers and sessions, please visit the conference website.

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Summer Fellowship Program

Microfinance models help women of Burkina Faso

Read about the experiences of our summer fellows as they help create social and environmental value.


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