Mads Kjaer of MYC4 commenting on the Grameen Bank being taken over by the Bangladeshi government, and ousted Nobel laureate and micro finance pioneer Muhammed Yunus:
Microfinance of 20 years ago is completely different from what we have today. Actually, what Yunus started was micro-credit and now we have microfinance (that offers a whole range of other financial products & services). Microfinance has grown to such a level that it cannot go unnoticed by governments. And that’s why in the last decade, there has been a wave of regulation and licensing of MFIs and the industry has evolved from donor and government programs to commercial ventures primarily driven by the private sector.
Microfinance Institutions are currently holding a lot of financial resources in both credit and savings and if not properly managed and controlled, they can be cause a risk to the financial sector. Microfinance has therefore evolved as an industry and moving forward we should see professionalism and proper ownership and governance structures in place.
The case of Yunus could have had a political angle to it but the fact the government could not give him exemption to remain a director being over-age, is a manifestation that microfinance has outgrown its “founding fathers” and emerging as a professional industry.
History often repeats itself; in our western culture we seem to forget that we also used to have thousands of small savings-credit and cooperative institutions/banks that over time were merged, acquired, and grew to large financial institutions of today like Chase.