About MicroLoan Foundation Malawi (MLF-M)
The MicroLoan Foundation Malawi (MLF-M) is a not-for-profit specialist microfinance provider that was established in 2002. Its activities are overseen by the Microloan Foundation which has its headquarters in the UK and is regulated by the Charity Commission. MLF-M’s main activity is providing low-income women living in rural areas of Malawi with short-term loans of between 4-6 months for productive purposes. It lends exclusively to women.
What is MLF-M’s mission?
The aim of MLF-M’s is to ‘reduce poverty and inequality in Malawi by providing business loans, training and mentoring to impoverished women in rural areas’.
What types of financial services does MLF-M provide?
Primarily MLF-M offers short-term loans for productive ventures accompanied by a strong training component. Most borrowers live in relatively isolated rural areas. It does require borrowers to deposit 10% of the loan amount on the first loan cycle, and 20% on later cycles as savings and these are held with a third party commercial bank. Savings cannot be accessed until the loan is repaid in full but the savings do attract interest of between 8-20% per annum depending upon the length of time funds remain in the bank.
How much interest does MLF-M charge?
Microfinance institutions (MFIs) charge higher rates of interest for several reasons. Firstly, the administrative costs of making many small loans are much higher than making fewer larger loans; secondly, they take more time assessing the feasibility of applications and thereby reducing risk because borrowers cannot offer traditional forms of collateral nor do they have salaried income; thirdly MFIs often operate in geographically remote areas with low population densities and this means that they incur greater operational costs; and fourthly they often accompany loans with a range of training and technical advice. Lastly, inflation is also generally higher than in countries such as the UK. The rate of inflation rate in Malawi is shown below. MLF-M charges an average flat rate of interest of 60% per annum.
Does MLF-M provide any training?
Yes, MLF-M does provide extensive training for borrowers, often as frequently as every two weeks in their villages. Prior to disbursing the loan, training is in the following areas:
· Products, procedures, interest rates and savings
· Loan application and disbursement
· Constitution planning or drafting
· Leadership and responsibilities
· Avoiding delinquency
· Rights and responsibilities
After receiving the loan, training continues in the following areas:
· Group support and what happens when things go wrong
· Setting savings goals
· Market research
· Costs, profits and pricing
· Doing a business plan
· Appropriate loan sizes
· Revision of constitution and loan application
Furthermore, MLF-M also provides free agricultural extension to local farmers in the cultivation of maize in order to improve yields, covering issues such as how far apart to space seeds, how to prepare land and how to apply fertiliser. The training is undertaken on the borrowers’ actual plots of land and loan officers do visit to check compliance throughout the growing season.
Where can I find out more information about MLF-M?
Microloan Foundation Malawi : Basic facts and figures
|Full name:||MicroLoan Foundation Malawi
|Average loan size:||US$81|
|Total number of active borrowers:||26,098|
|Proportion of loans given to women:||100%|
|Total loan portfolio:||US$1,348,535
|Portfolio at Risk (PAR) at 30 days:||4.6%|
Malawi: Basic facts and figures
|Life expectancy at birth:||66.66 years|
|Adult literacy rate:||65.8%|
|Access to improved water source:||89%|
|Infant mortality rate:||46.26 per 1,000 live births|
|Maternal mortality rate:||634 per 100,000 live births|
|GDP per capita:||US$1200|