Rating: 4.36 stars 28 28 reviews
21900 Muirfield Cir. Apt. 302 Sterling VA 20164 USA
Zidisha is the next generation of microfinance. It is the only peer-to-peer microfinance organization that allows lenders to make low-interest loans to borrowers directly, without any intermediaries. Launched in October 2009, Zidisha has since raised over $350,000 for over 600 small businesses in developing countries. Visit Zidisha.org for more information.
Loans raised: $352,006 USD Businesses financed: 602 Average lender interest: 3.08% Members Worldwide: 2040 Repayment rate: 97.49% (As of September 2012)
Zidisha borrowers are located in low-income countries where small business loans are often unavailable, or carry prohibitively expensive interest rates and collateral requirements. Zidisha allows entrepreneurs who have built up successful credit records with local microfinance institutions to access progressively larger business expansion loans at interest rates they can afford, limited only by their own loan repayment performance.
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To those familiar with how microfinance normally works, Zidisha represents a sea-change. Not only does it allow foreign lenders to lend to and interact with borrowers directly, it goes on to challenge many of the traditional assumptions of how microfinance should be done.
Can borrower credibility be sufficiently established without direct person-to-person interaction? Yes.
Can borrowers be trusted to repay their loans without regular visits from a loan officer? Yes.
Can a microfinance institution without physical presence on the ground -- no headquarters, no branches, no staff -- maintain the required credibility among clients to insure high repayment rates? Yes.
These are huge questions, and until Zidisha, they were nearly universally assumed to be impossible. Zidisha has proved each of those assumptions wrong, and in the process has been turning microfinance lending on its head. Though Zidisha is still small and young, it is already starting to inspire traditional microfinance institutions to experiment in this direction. If successful, Zidisha's example can help the industry worldwide make their loans less costly and more flexible -- all to the benefit of poor clients.
Lenders and donors who participate via Zidisha are not only establishing closer links with borrowers in Kenya, Senegal, and elsewhere, but are also helping change the microfinance industry itself.
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