The Microfinance CEOs Working Group

19 September 2011

Got a great review in the Huffington Post today. My ranking on both and is also ascendant, even though I don’t completely understand how they arrive at this metric. Who cares! It’s more fun than watching the Dow jump up and down, and less costly.

The Microfinance CEOs Working Group (that’s our new moniker, MCWG) met last Friday in Washington and we made further progress in our efforts to meet the challenges facing the industry. We are the CEOs of 9 microfinance networks, including some of the largest and oldest in the industry. Our strategy is two pronged: first, to engage the industry initiatives in client protection, transparency and social impact measurement, and, second, to communicate our view of what is really happening in the industry, from the practitioners’ point of view. The goal of the first “prong” is to ensure the MFIs affiliated to our networks are practicing “responsible microfinance” which puts the clients in the first postion, ahead of our employees, investors and other stakeholders. The goal of the second is to present as complete a picture as possible of what is happening in our industry and what we, as some of the earliest movers, see as the way forward.

Some in the industry have questioned our initiative — a kind of “who do they think they are to speak for the industry?” reaction. Our answer is that we perceived a void in the response of the industry to some of the criticism leveled at it in recent months at this critical time, and, while we don’t presume to speak for the industry as a whole and all its players, we can and have been asked to speak for our own membership, which constitutes a signficant percentage of the market.

It should be noted that this is an entirely “practioner-driven” effort, and while we are aware of a desire on the part of donors, investors and other stakeholders for someone to step forward to answer the critics of microfinance, the motivation to do so was our own. You will hear more — much more, hopefully — from me and my colleagues on this topic in the future.

Rupert Scofield


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