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ISSN : 2233-4165(Print)
ISSN : 2233-5382(Online)
Journal of Industrial Distribution & Business Vol.8 No.3 pp.19-22

Interest Rate Caps in Microfinance: Issues and Challenges

Md Aslam Mia


Purpose - To control exorbitant interest rates, implementation of an interest rate ceiling is a standard practice in microfinance. However, there are pros and cons of such market intervention. Hence, the aim of this short note is to highlight issues and challenges regarding the interest rate cap in microfinance, both from the perspective of clients and institutions.
Research design, data, and methodology - While the nature of this short note is explanatory and descriptive, the research methodology used relevant data from the MixMarket and Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) annual reports in Bangladesh.
Results - We argue that an interest rate ceiling is detrimental both for the clients and microfinance institutions (MFIs). This market intervention substantially reduces the outreach of MFIs and clients are most likely to pay a higher price in the long-run. Additionally, an interest rate cap also puts severe pressure on new-born and high-cost MFIs to cope with the interest rate ceiling.
Conclusions - Although market intervention may be necessary in the short-run, it should not be the ultimate solution to abate high interest in microfinance. Understanding the operational dynamics of MFIs, as well as promoting productivity, efficiency and competition could help to lower the interest rates.

JEL Classification:: : E43, G21, O23.