Micro-loans in Malta struggle to reach women

Sometimes a few hundred euros is just what is needed to lift oneself up. Micro-loans have changed the lives of many in Malta, but access to these loans for women has lagged behind. 

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Micro-loans in Malta struggle to reach women - NewsMavens
Woman, PixaBay

Why this story matters:

Getting a regular bank account, even with vintage magnetic card technology, is a tough expedition even for a migrant from the EU, but for someone from a poorer country banking is beyond reach.  Malta Microfinance has been around for a couple of years, targeting people in vulnerable situations, especially migrants, with micro-loans to fill this gap. In a story rich in personal details of people who have started a successful business or taken a new education pathway, the Times of Malta illustrates why it matters. Reaching women is the next challenge the organisation has set for itself, as applicants appear to be overwhelmingly male.

Last year,  MMF signed a memorandum of understanding with APS, signalling some hopeful interest from conventional banks. The facility has supported restaurants, fashion stores and other businesses -- all potentially successful ventures in Malta's booming economy. Micro-credits are a Nobel-prize-winning idea, but the community pressure built into their design has created a wave of suicides among people unable to repay. In Malta, the micro-credit facility does not use this community design and opts for individual assessment instead.

Details from the story:

  • Malta Microfinance, a volunteer-led financial service, is the only microlender on the archipelago, operating since 2013.
  • It targets people in vulnerable situations, including migrants, who cannot access regular bank loans.
  • MMF’s loans are capped at €5,000 but can be as little as €100. Applicants must have a clean police record, identification and proof they can pay back what they borrow.
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