Microfinance firms could
grow more rapidly if only they could access financial markets.
Mexico's Financiera Compartamos has engineered a bond deal that
represents a significant advance in breaking down some existing
barriers to the growth of these increasingly fashionable
Some 300,000 Mexican small businesses, most run by women,
rely on micro-loans from Compartamos, an organization that does
not disclose net income, but which boasts a 20% return on
assets. Like many microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Latin
America, however, Compartamos is registered in Mexico as a
Sofol, or non-deposit taking financial institution. As such, it
needs to look to investors and, ultimately, capital markets to
The company's inability to tap the markets had prevented it
from expanding its client base. Until July 2004, that is.
That's when Compartamos issued MP190 million ($16.6 million)
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