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 lenders.
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,
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