The Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) and Microcredit Ratings International Limited (M-CRIL) recently released the “Indian Microfinance Review,” 2007. The trends described in the report are based on M-CRIL’s sample of 58 rated and MIX’s 37 reporting MFIs. An analysis from Microcapital.org follows:
This review reports that the majority of MFI’s are located in Southern India. This is largely due to the stronger, more developed economies found in the southern states compared to less developed areas in the north and east…[The] overall outreach of MFIs in India is 15-20 million clients, however only 35 percent of the 60-70 million poor families are being served…
The Indian MFI sector is among the fastest growing and most efficient in the world. The sample institutions had an average of 326 staff members with a ratio of 231 borrowers being served per staff member. This is two thirds more than other surveyed South Asian countries. Grameen and SHG MFIs reported average servicing costs at ten dollars US per borrower, as compared to USD 30 spent by the average Asian MFI.
Financial performance of the Indian MFI sector, [however] continues to decrease due to poor portfolio quality and low portfolio yields, with a weighted return on assets of zero, down from an already low rate of 2.1 percent in 2005. Average MFI returns are at -9.8 percent, much lower than other South Asian countries.
Despite the overall decline in financial performance, 38 percent of the sample MFIs are turning a profit, though only 15 percent earn more than 3 percent. Fifty percent of borrowers are being served by institutions that have operational self sufficiency above 90 percent. India’s MFI sector has the potential to be financially viable in the near future.