The Commercialization of Microfinance: Efficiency or Exploitation?
Carrillo, Ian Robert
University of Kansas
Latin American Studies
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This thesis seeks to analyze the commercialized developments of the microfinance industry in Mexico. Additionally, I will trace the history of poverty and inequality in Mexico, with an emphasis on urbanization and the informal sector. This thesis will also explore the parallels between the philosophies behind commercialized microfinance and neoliberal economics. Utilizing industry literature, academic sources, and personal interviews, this thesis analyzes the contemporary for-profit microfinance industry in Mexico, by addressing themes such as operating practices, regulation, consumer protection, collection methods, and interest rates. The microfinance institutions Banco Compartamos, Financiera Independencia, and Banco Azteca, among others, will receive considerable focus. The author concludes that a commercialized approach could potentially expand the scope of microfinance activities in a significant way, but that some operating practices are harmful to poor clientele. In order to increase consumer protection for poor customers, the author recommends that transparency laws and regulations be more strictly applied.
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