World’s first person-to-person loan guarantee website enters the field

 

Caroline Hartnell

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Caroline Hartnell

Caroline Hartnell

Ever since I came across the Geneva-based International Guarantee Fund, I’ve thought that guaranteeing loans for organizations and individuals in poor countries that have no access to credit is one of the most effective and highly leveraged ways for foundations and other social investors to use their funds. In the case of the International Guarantee Fund, the guarantees were made in Switzerland and the money was borrowed in Latin America and Africa, and no money even needed to change continents provided the loans were repaid.

So I was interested to read in Tactical Philanthropy about a new organization established precisely to guarantee loans for entrepreneurs all over the world with no collateral. Like Kiva, United Prosperity brings together investors and investees on its website, but in this case investors are being asked to provide loan guarantees rather than loans. According to its website, ‘United Prosperity is the world’s first person to person loan guaranteeing website.’

Founded in early 2008, United Prosperity has now posted profiles of the first set of entrepreneurs looking for guarantees. The entrepreneurs are identified by a partner microfinance institution, and it is the microfinance institution that actually makes the loan to the entrepreneur. ‘Once we complete raising funds for these entrepreneurs we will remit the funds to the lending bank, which will then use that as a guarantee and make a loan to the microfinance institution,’ explains founder Bhalchander Vishwanath.  ‘Our starting point is that there is enough money available in the developing countries. Our guarantee frees up those funds.’

There are also other advantages of the approach in terms of developing local linkages. ‘Our guarantee facilitates the creation of local linkages between domestic banks, MFIs and poor entrepreneurs,’ says Vishwanath. ‘In the course of repaying the loan, both the entrepreneur and the MFI develop credit histories that will enable them to access more funds at a later date with a lower guarantee percentage, or even without a guarantee. MFIs also get to form relationships with banks and offer other products like savings, insurance, money transfer etc through the bank.’

For more information
Visit http://www.unitedprosperity.org or contact Bhalchander Vishwanath at bhalchander@unitedprosperity.org

Tagged in: Loan guarantee United Prosperity


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