Gloria Almeyda Stemper
Commercial banks and women microentrepreneurs in Latin America
This article examines the experience of a group of commercial banks in Latin America and the Caribbean in catering to microenterprise clients and to women in particular. The results indicate that a small number of commercial financial institutions are expanding the coverage and depth of financial services to these businesses, both at the wholesale and retail levels. Rather than focusing on one specific type of institution as the viable alternative, the overall supply of financial services to women microentrepreneurs – credit for enterprise and household investments, savings and payment services – should and does come from a variety of institutions including NGOs, banks, credit unions and other formal and semi-formal financial intermediaries. This variety will contribute to a larger and more efficient supply of financial services to heterogeneous groups of microentrepreneurs in the region.