Fragility of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) in Bangladesh and Its Implications for Poverty-Focused Paradigm-Shift: An Exploratory Study

Mohammad A. Ashraf


Microfinance initiative is widely acclaimed as a new approach to alleviate poverty and bring about development, but recently the effectiveness of the MFIs has been appeared to be a focus of debate in finance and economics literature. The controversy surrounds mainly on the impact of these MFIs on poverty, ultra-poverty and further overall socioeconomic development. Specific factors, among others, are mainly under scrutiny such as income and living standard, costs of credit, risk of loans, disciplinary imperatives, loan repayment policy, religious restrictions, loan using opportunity etc. An exploratory survey was conducted to analyze the microfinance members’ evaluation about the microfinance schemes adopted by different MFIs in Bangladesh. This study covered only three MFIs such as Grameen Bank (GB), BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee) and ASA (Association for Social Advancement). The sample was taken on random basis from the Districts of Gazipur, Savar and Narayanganj. The respondents (clients of those three MFIs) were asked to evaluate their judgments on different objects selected in the questionnaire. Respondents ranked the attributes on a number of itemized five-point scale ratings bounded at each end by one of two bipolar adjectives. The result of this study indicated that overall poverty was not alleviated and the factors such as disciplinary criteria, costs of credit, income and living standard, religious restrictions and risk of loans are not on a satisfactory level which underscores the necessity of alternative paradigm. Otherwise, ineffectiveness of the MFIs would persist and poverty alleviation objective would remain futile.

Keywords: Microfinance customers, Safety Net, MFIs, Islamic MFIs

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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