UK 'catching up' on microfinance

Groundswell of support evident, says US expert Scott Graham

Understanding of microfinance in the UK remains poorer than in the US but is improving, according to a senior figure at one of the world's leading microlending organisations.

Speaking to Third Sector after a microfinance summit in London, Scott Graham, strategic alliances manager at US-based Finca International, said the benefits of microfinance had been promoted more widely in the American media and it had benefited from support in the 1990s from Hillary Clinton, then the first lady.

"But Europeans are very interested in world affairs compared with people in the US, and this market is growing fast," he said. "There's a groundswell of support, and the people who understand it are extremely keen on it."

Graham said that the availability of microfinance capital had not diminished in recent years, despite the recession. "But we're seeing less private money and more money from government institutions," he said.

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