Research Symposium: Credit Markets for the Poor

Friday, April 20, 2007
8:30 a.m.– 4:15 p.m.

This research symposium brought together practitioners, scholars, and policymakers interested in improving the access to credit markets for the poor. Topics included the existing state of borrowing rates, default rates, and the methods used for financing and risk management of microloans, which is a specific method for lending to underserved communities. In addition to informing the participants about the existing state-of-the-art practices in microfinance, the symposium also identified major research questions facing this area in the years to come and resulted in a publication: Microfinance: Emerging Trends and Challenges, edited by Suresh Sundaresan, the Chase Manhattan Bank Professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia Business School.

Read a student article about the event here.

Researchers and faculty who would like to attend future symposia can contact [email protected].


8:30-8:45 a.m. 

Breakfast and Registration

8:45-8:55 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

  • Professor Ray Horton
    Director of the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise
9:00-9:30 a.m.

Academic Presentation: Overview of Credit Markets for the Poor

  • Professor Patrick Bolton
    Columbia Business School
    Based on a book edited with Howard Rosenthal
9:30-10:15 a.m.

Academic Presentation: The Next Billion Microfinance Customers

  • Professor Jonathan Morduch
    New York University
10:15-10:30 a.m.

Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Practitioner Panel Discussion: Risk Assessment and Management with Capital Markets

  • Brad Swanson (download pdf)
    Partner at Developing World Markets
    Financing of Microloans and the Role of Capital Markets
  • Ray Rahman (download pdf)
    Co-founder of MF Analytics and the Founding Partner of RSA Capital
    Securitization of BRAC – “Micro-credit Backed Security (MCBS)”; Lessons for Managing Risks Using Capital Markets 
  • Saif Shah Mohammed
    Co-founder of MF Analytics
    Securitization of BRAC – “Micro-credit Backed Security (MCBS)”; Lessons for Managing Risks Using Capital Markets 
  • Damian von Stauffenberg (download pdf)
    Founder and Principal of MicroRate
    Survey of Microfinance Investment Vehicles (MIVs) and Rating MFIs
12:00-1:30 p.m.


1:00-1:30 p.m.

Lunch Discussion

  • Mini Roy
    Managing Director, Export & Agency Finance at Citigroup Global Markets
    A Practitioner’s Perspective on Challenges in the Field of Credit Markets for the Poor and Key Future Research Issues and Data Collection
1:30-2:00 p.m.

Academic Presentation: Gender Empowerment

  • Beatriz Armendariz (download doc)
    Harvard University
    Based in part on joint work with Sendhil Mullainathan (Harvard) and Dean Karlan (Yale)
2:00-2:30 p.m.

Academic Presentation: Defaults and Borrowing Rates in Microloans: Some Evidence, and the Role of Contract Design and Competition

  • Professor Suresh Sundaresan (download pdf)
    Columbia Business School, with Sam Cheung (Columbia)
2:30-2:45 p.m.


2:45-4:15 p.m.

Practitioner Panel Discussion: Risk Sharing with Banks, Regulatory Challenges, and Technology in Lending

  • Professor Suresh Sundaresan (moderator)
    Columbia Business School
  • Richard Rosenberg (learn more)
    CGAP and World Bank
    Overview of regulatory challenges; issue of money laundering control and how it has affected the funds flow in microloans markets
  • Bindu Ananth (download pdf)
    ICICI Bank
    Partnership Model to Managing Risk in Lending to Micro Borrowers
  • Anand Shrivastav (download pdf)
    Cell Phone Technology for Delivering Microloans