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Chapter summaries

"Chapter 1 Thou Shalt Not Criticize Microfinance" 

A brief introduction to the microfinance sector, its claims and flaws.

"Chapter2 Baptism in Mexico" 

Stumbling into the microfinance sector and discovering some early success cases, and some early warning signs. The inner-workings of a microfinance institution.

"Chapter 3 Bob Dylan and I in Mozambique"

Disturbing discoveries in Mozambique, and the role of the investors. The first abuses of micro-savings.

"Chapter 4 Another Mozambican Civil War" 

Robberies, deceptions, cover-ups and eventually dismissal from an MFI, with the full-knowledge of the parent company in the USA.

"Chapter 5 The “Developed” World" 

The microfinance fund management sector, and the first wave of microfinance millionaires. Perverse incentives dominate from the top-down.

"Chapter 6 Something Not Quite Right in Nigeria" 

Some unusual experiences with the darling MFI of West Africa, and some very alarming discoveries. More suspect behaviour with client savings, and an introduction to extortionate interest rates, amongst other abuses.

"Chapter 7 Something Not Quite Right in Holland" 

The truth accidentally leaks out and is swiftly covered-up. But a second case leads to a direct confrontation, leading to a second dismissal, this time from a "darling" fund.

"Chapter 8 In Front of the Judge" 

Taking on the beast in the Dutch court system, and winning. But the poor continue to lose as the sector reverts to "business-as-usual".

"Chapter 9 Rustling Dutch Feathers" 

An introduction to microfinance whistle-blowing, and the surprising impact of the rating agencies. The other Dutch investors are informed, but the cover-up continues.

"Chapter 10 Blowing the Whistle from Mongolia" 

Evidence mounts, but so does the cover-up. Confronting the US sector, who begin to feel the pressure to come clean. But don't.

"Chapter 11 Enter the New York Times"

The story breaks and panic ensues. Some, but not all, begrudgingly come clean, while some new vultures join the fray. The desire for profit becomes the dominant factor in the sector. Enter the so-called ""peer-to-peer" platforms, with yet more hype and bold claims.

"Chapter 12 Collapse, Suicide, and Muhammad Yunus"

What actually happened in Nicaragua? Why did so many microfinance clients commit suicide in India? What happened to Muhammad Yunus? The microfinance sector is finally hijacked by the sharks it sought to replace. 

"Chapter 13 The Good, the Bad, and the Poor" 

What can we learn from the mess of the last decade? Spin, or "self-regulation" takes on a new dimension in microfinance, as attention shifts to saving the reputation of the ailing sector. How can the few good MFIs survive, and how can a responsible supporter of microfinance negotiate the minefield of deception and hype that permeates the sector? Above all, what can we do to genuinely clean up the sector for the benefit of the poor?


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Cynthia Shannon

Publicity Manager, Berrett- Koheler Publishers

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