Microfinance is one of the most reliable ways through which poor people can be helped to better their lives. While this is the case, the industry has received negative praise because of the greed displayed by certain companies in the industry. It is for this reason that Jeff Rutt speaks passionately about self interest and greed. He highlights these two aspects as the major contributing factors to most of the problems the society is facing today.
He says that companies and individuals are always looking for ways of cheating the system and getting a couple of extra dollars. Because of this sinful nature, he says that greed has already taken over the microfinance industry. He believes there are a couple of bad and poorly run organizations which have given the industry a bad name for the simple reason they are interested in making extra profits. He believes that it is extremely sad to see a couple of these bad organizations take advantage of other people.
Because of a couple of bad apples, the microfinance industry has earned a bad reputation. He says that microlending is one of the most effective ways of helping some of the poorest people crawl out of poverty. He says that through provision of small loans that start from as low as $ 10 or even $20, struggling families are able to get the help they need to start the smallest of businesses and this makes the major difference in drawing the line between financial success and chronic hunger. He further argues that these microcredit institutions are perfect for poor people across the world since they are the only places where people can turn to when they need banking services, credit or life insurance.
However, he says that after years of growth the sector is in deep trouble. He shares insights from a recent report by Microcredit Summit Campaign which indicates that the number of people who are getting served by these institutions has decreased from two hundred and five million to one hundred and ninety five million. The report further states that this is the largest drop ever recorded since 1998.
He further proceeds to state that the decline can be traced to Andhra Pradesh, India. He says that due to the rapid commercialization of these microloans, abusive practices have been developed. In the beginning these were supposed to be nonprofits for the purpose of helping poor people but as the industry continued to grow, other institutions jumped on board and this led to corruption of the concept. He says that as a result, the industry got negative press and this led to government crackdown which in turn restricted microlending. Further, Jeff Rutt says that the same backlash is been used in other parts such as Bolivia. He concludes by saying that the industry is still needed for the purpose of helping poor people and for this reason, it is essential to uphold its reputation.