today is the 3rd European Microfinance Day, an initiative co-organised by the European Microfinance Network (EMN) and the Microfinance Centre (MFC). This year the sector is drawing attention to the need to ensure fair access to finance, putting the focus on those who are underserved by the traditional banking sector.
23 organisations from 14 European countries are organising different activities to highlight the importance of the microfinance sector in tackling some of the most significant challenges in society: unemployment, social exclusion, lack of entrepreneurship.
According to the report “Microfinance in Europe: A Survey of EMN-MFC members” , the European microfinance sector reached an outstanding gross microloan portfolio of 2.5 billion euros in 2015, serving 747,265 active borrowers. For the same period, the MFIs surveyed disbursed a total of 552,834 loans (+12% compared to 2014) with a total volume of almost 1.6 billion euros (+16%). With regard to the promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation, the MFIs surveyed have continuously supported microenterprises, start-ups, social enterprises and self-employed people In 2015, the number of active borrowers supported by business microloans reached a total of 402,365 (+8%).
“Microfinance has become the most sustainable and trusted alternative finance option in developing economies today. An array of customized credit facilities is now available to vulnerable target groups previously undeserved. We are proud of the growth our network has seen over the past few years and the recognition it has received both at national and international level. Microfinance organisations throughout Europe are continually professionalizing and increasing their service offer to ensure Fair Finance for All!”, says Elwin Groenevelt, EMN President.