The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the important role of financial services in helping low-income people manage uncertainty and economic shocks. Many low-income customers rely on microfinance institutions (MFIs) to provide those financial services; however, the pandemic has also sent many MFIs themselves into crisis and many continue to face serious solvency concerns. This publication provides considerations and options for MFIs facing the need for potential consolidation. 

This brief provides an illustrated overview of five consolidation options: 

  • Asset Purchase 
  • Share Purchase 
  • Forward Merger 
  • Triangular Merger 
  • Reverse Triangular Merger 

This brief was conducted as part of CFI’s partnership with Mastercard’s Center for Inclusive Growth.

Deborah Drake


Deborah Drake was a member of CFI’s staff from its inception in 2008 until 2022. Currently, she serves as a consultant to CFI and Accion. In her previous role as vice president of investor engagement and research, Deborah led CFI’s investor engagement and governance efforts to strengthen the inclusive finance ecosystem. She directed the Financial Inclusion Equity Council (FIEC), a membership organization of private entities making equity investments in financial institutions in the developing world. She also led CFI’s research work in the impact investing space.

Before the establishment of CFI, Deborah held multiple leadership roles at Accion focused on developing and implementing financial initiatives to facilitate microfinance institutions’ access to capital. She managed Accion’s $9 million guarantee fund for Latin America and the United States, and led the financial analysis unit, which collected and analyzed data to achieve greater financial transparency and establish international standards of financial performance for microfinance institutions. Deborah also was responsible for the development and delivery of training to microfinance institutions in the areas of transformation, governance, and investment readiness.

Deborah is co-editor of The Commercialization of Microfinance: Balancing Business and Development, and the co-author of Alchemists for the Poor: NGOs as Financial Institutions. Before joining Accion, she was a banking specialist at the World Bank and a commercial banker.

Deborah holds a bachelor’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and an MBA from Babson College. She speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese.

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