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The microfinance sector consolidates its capability to support financial inclusion in Europe

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  • European MFIs reached outstanding gross microloan portfolio of EUR 3.2 billion in 2017, serving almost 1 million active borrowers
  • 443,825 clients reached with non-financial services in 2017 

Brussels/Warsaw 11th December – The European Microfinance Network (EMN) and the Microfinance Centre (MFC) are proud to announce the launch of the “Microfinance in Europe: Survey Report 2016-2017”. The 8th edition of the report provides an overview of the development of the sector in terms of its main institutional characteristics, microloan portfolio, and social and financial performance for the period 2016-2017[1].

The report gives a sound image of the sector’s heterogeneity relating to the institutional model, the size, and the level of specialisation in microlending. The social goals pursued by microfinance institutions (MFIs) are also diverse, with a primary focus on financial inclusion and job creation.

The report highlights an increase of the scale of the sector both in terms of the total volume and the number of microloans disbursed. In 2017, the MFIs surveyed disbursed a total of 660,330 loans (+5% compared to 2016) with a total volume of EUR 2.1 billion (+11%).

Non-financial support is a key element of microfinance provision in Europe. In fact, almost 70% of the MFIs surveyed follow an integrated approach allowing for the provision of financial products (primarily business and personal microloans, SME loans, and savings) and non-financial services. Last year the MFIs canvassed reached 443,825 clients with their non-financial services (+5%), mostly delivered through one-on-one support (e.g. mentoring, coaching) and at no cost to the clients.

As regards the promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation, the MFIs surveyed have continuously supported microenterprises and self-employed people. In 2017, the number of active borrowers supported by business microloans reached a total of 406,715 (+5%).

“What stands out from the report is the dynamism of the sector that supports a growing number of vulnerable clients and microenterprises thanks to the combined offer of bespoke financial and non-financial services”, says Elwin Groenevelt, EMN President.

Lucija Popovska, MFC President, adds that “these results are proof that microfinance has become a growing sector of activity in Europe and carries substantial potential for further growth in the years to come, particularly in relation to the impact of current low economic growth among disadvantaged and impoverished populations and the need to ensure their inclusion”.

[1] The Report is based on data collected by EMN and MFC from of 156 MFIs across 28 European countries.

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