Financial Access Under the Microscope
56 Pages Posted: 15 Nov 2018
Date Written: September 2018
We examine the impact of a large-scale microcredit expansion program on financial access and the transition of previously unbanked borrowers to commercial banks. Using administrative micro-data covering the universe of loans to individuals from a developing country, we show that the program significantly increased access to credit, particularly in less developed areas. This effect is driven by the newly set-up credit cooperatives (U-SACCOs), which grant loans to previously unbanked individuals. A sizable share of first-time borrowers who need a second loan switch to commercial banks, which cream-skim low-risk borrowers and grant them larger, cheaper, and longer-term loans. These borrowers are not riskier than similar individuals already at commercial banks and only initially receive smaller loans. Our results suggest that the microfinance sector, together with a well-functioning credit reference bureau, help mitigate information frictions in credit markets.
Keywords: Microfinance, Africa, Financial inclusion, loan expansion program, credit reference bureau, Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
JEL Classification: G21, O12, O55
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation