Now, India tops Forbes list of top microfinance institutions
New York (PTI): After billionaires and household names like Ambanis and Mittals, it is the turn of little-known microfinance institutions from India to hit the pages of famed magazine Forbes, which has named seven such entities in the list of world's top 50 -- highest for a country.
In its first ever list of World's Top 50 Microfinance Institutions, the US business magazine has named Bangalore- based Bandhan at the second position.
Bandhan, as well as two other Indian MFIs -- Microcredit Foundation of India (ranked 13th) and Saadhana Microfin Society (15th) -- have been placed even above Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank, which along with its founder Mohammed Yunus was awarded Nobel Prize last year.
Grameen Bank has been ranked 17th in the list topped by another Bangladesh-based institution, ASA.
India, along with Bangladesh, are jointly home to the maximum number of MFIs to be featured in the list. Among others, there are five from Bosnia and Herzegovina, four each from Morocco and Peru, three from Colombia and two each from Equador, Ethiopia and Serbia.
One each from 15 other countries, including Russia, Pakistan, Mexico and Brazil have also been named in the list.
Besides Bandhan, Microcredit Foundation of India and Saadhana Microfin Society, other Indian entries include Grameen Koota (19th), Sharada's Women's Association for Weaker Section (23rd), SKS Microfinance Private Ltd (44th) and Asmitha Microfin Ltd (29th).
Interestingly, two of the Indian MFIs featured in the list -- Grameen Koota and SKS Microfinance -- are working on the same model adopted by Grameen Bank.
Forbes magazine said that "microfinance has become a buzzword of the decade, raising the provocative notion that even philanthropy aimed at alleviating poverty can be profitable to institutional and individual investors."
"Billionaires, global leaders and Nobel Prize recipients are hailing these direct loans to uncollateralised would-be entrepreneurs as a way to lift them out of poverty while creating self-sustaining businesses," it noted.
The magazine said that the list was made after going through data available with the Microfinance Information Exchange and the analysis from rating firms Micro-Credit Ratings International Limited and MicroRate.
The ranking was based on six key variables -- gross loan portfolio, operating expense, operating expenses divided by the average number of active borrowers as a percentage of gross national income per capita, the outstanding balance of loans overdue by more than 30 days as a per cent of gross loan portfolio, return on assets, and return on equity.
"Each microfinance institution earned scores in four equally weighted categories -- scale, efficiency, portfolio risk and profitability. Rankings were then based on the combined average score of those four categories," it said.