Faculty corner

We continually hear from faculty that they are working on interesting pieces of analysis or research that others within the Boulder community might enjoy hearing about. In response, we created this “Faculty Corner” to highlight faculty work in a way that promotes discussion and builds analytical approaches. Please think about ways you might contribute to this space and facilitate a deeper conversation!



What have we learned from microfinance crises of the past? Boulder Institute is proud to announce the first in our series of case studies exploring risk and governance challenges in microfinance.

Read more


Daniel Rozas is a microfinance researcher based in Brussels and specializes in market analysis, risk and crisis, and client protection. From 2001-2008, he worked for the US mortgage investment company Fannie Mae and witnessed firsthand how risk within a market can build and then explode into a crisis. In 2013, he co-developed MIMOSA (the Microfinance Index of Market Outreach and Saturation), a tool to measure capacity and saturation levels in markets.

Read more


What is P2P lending and has it become a misnomer?

Peer-to-Peer Platforms (P2P) opened a new frontier in digital lending by connecting individual investors directly to borrowers. UK-based Zopa was a pioneer in this form of crowdfunding, but others like LendwithCare and KIVA offer different models. These platforms channel investors to MFIs that then lend to individuals or businesses. And their success has attracted the attention of traditional financial institutions that don’t typically serve downstream markets.

Read more


The new value proposition of tech enabled microloans

The dizzying growth rate of some digital-micro-loan (DML) products raises the question: are they the new microcredit to the poor? Serving low-income clients with low value credit wasn’t an attractive value proposition for most formal financial institutions (FIs). MFIs were among the few that honed the skills to serve them, though doing so requires a costly high touch method. But tech-enabled micro loans can be offered instantly through low touch service at a lower cost, making them an attractive proposition and heating up competition as new players enter the market.

Read more


This maxim governs much of our financial lives, rich or poor. Yet, we offer financial services to the unbanked and underbanked, largely ignoring it. The current thinking around customer centrality as it affects financial services for the poor emphasizes appropriately responding to people’s needs and wants for financial services. But, as Kim Wilson (CFI 2016), recently pointed out this is still not happening: 

We have an agenda, which is this: please be our customer, have your needs, express them so long as they are about digital payments or failing that, using a bank account ­­– a lot – and preferably, digitally. Else, we don’t give a damn. We don’t care about your archaic methods of pacing yourself through the use of paper currency. We don’t care about your coins pressed through the slot of a savings box. We desperately want and need you to modernize, to become just like us. Otherwise we have no justification for all the work we do and all the money we spend.

Until now the perceived drivers of uptake of digital financial services (DFS) have been their assumed attributes of convenience, timeliness and affordability, relative to current formal and informal financial service offerings. However, with uptake and usage levels of only 30% for digital financial services it is clear that this rationale falls short. What have we missed? What has to change if we wish to move toward a ‘cash lite’ economy? 

Read more


Boulder Institute of Microfinance

120 E Washington Street Suite 200
Syracuse, New York 13202, USA
+1 (315) 760-3091


Boulder Institute