Effect of Regulation on Outreach of Microfinance Institutions in Ghana

Joyce Ama Quartey, Bernice Kotey

Abstract


Microfinance institutions (MFIs) play an important role in enhancing the growth potential of small businesses. However, while regulation ensures that MFIs are financially sustainable, compliance compels them to make large-sized loans to wealthy clients in order to reduce the risk of lending and minimize administrative costs, a situation that compromises their main goal of reaching out to the poor. The study therefore, examined the effect of regulation on breadth and depth of outreach by microfinance institutions (MFIs) in Ghana. The purpose of the study is to find out whether regulation has enabled MFIs to increase their outreach (breadth and depth) thereby improving their sustainability. A mixed methods research design was employed, involving initial hypotheses testing with 31 self-regulated and 24 Central bank-regulated MFIs. The findings were then triangulated with a qualitative research design involving 13 Central bank-regulated and 20 self-regulated MFIs. The results showed that regulations increased the client base of MFIs but reduced the percentage of poor clients served, largely women. It is recommended that the government set up a fund for poor clients to be accessed by well-performing MFIs for provision of financial services to the poor to assist in poverty reduction.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijafr.v9i1.14405

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