Microfinance in the United States is miniscule (at a $21 million loan portfolio) compared to the global microfinance market, which is estimated at $30 billion.  This is due to the complexity of the U.S. financial system, with its relative abundance of financing alternatives, tougher regulation and culture.  Despite the 260 microfinance institutions in the United States, they originate only 15,000 loans per year in contrast to say Bangladesh which has 7 million customers among the three larges MFIs in the country.

 

Microlending makes gains in the U.S. In cities like Miami, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles, a small but growing group of mostly immigrant and minority entrepreneurs is turning to microfinancing.

What’s the ROI in U.S. Microfinance? (2011). The Aspen Institute has been tracking microfinance in the US since 1998 and identified 367 organizations in the U.S. that provide microlending.

Microfinance:  Ready For Its Big Leap? As one of the largest MFIs in the US, Accion Texas serves entrepreneurs with poor credit and recent immigrants. It doesn’t turn a profit (yet), but Citigroup recently agreed to buy up to $30 million in excess loan production over the next three years.

Can Microfinance Make it in America?

The GOOD 100: Microfinance Comes to America

Microenterprise Development Programs in the United States and in the Developing World

Kiva Launches Online Microfinance in the United States

Opportunity Fund:  Working Capital for Working People

Replicating Microfinance in the United States: Opportunities and Challenges

How Does Microfinance Impact the United States? (2011)

Lessons and Trends of Microcredit in the United States

Microfinance in the United States: A Case-Study Analysis of Mercy Corps Northwest