Lessons in Microfinance Downscaling: The Case of Banco de la Empresa, S.A.

Aug 1998
Few commercial banks have engaged in profitable microfinance lending despite repeated attempts by donor agencies to entice their entry. The case of Banco de la Empresa, a Latin American private bank, illustrates how penetration of the microenterprise market segment could evolve. This paper reviews the bank's experience with microfinance, what its motivations were for starting such a program, what adjustments it made in operating procedures and what risks the program faced. The study is based on a real experience of the Inter-American Development Bank but in order to preserve the confidentiality of the institution studied, names, dates and other non-critical data were changed.