[Original Report + Case Studies] Weathering the Storm: Hazards, Beacons, and Life Rafts

Lessons in Microfinance Crisis Survival from Those Who Have Been There

This report draws lessons from seven case studies of microfinance institutions that experienced existential threats during the global financial crisis of 2009-10. Because no literature or studies existed at that time on crisis mitigation, the MFIs had nothing to fall back on. This report examines the factors that led to the crises (i.e. uncontrolled growth, design flaws, and financial vulnerability), highlights the steps that the organizations took during the crises, and presents lessons that other MFIs can look to in future situations. The paper lays out specific guidelines that MFIs can follow as a precaution to avoid crises. These include good governance, professionalism, and accountability.

In 2020, as another economic crisis confronted the microfinance sector, CFI began publishing a series of new case studies from five different markets on how they confronted their own crises over the past decade. In 2021, a follow-up report, Weathering the Storm II, was published. The newer report will draw lessons from these five cases and apply them to the pandemic-induced challenges and future crises.

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