Most of the world's 14 million microborrowers (mostly women) have proved repeatedly that they can create stable sources of income, and repay their loans. Combinations of peer pressure and future incentives seem to do the trick, as popularized by organizations like the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and Acción International in Latin America.


In many closely knit rural areas, groups of neighbours guarantee each other's loans: only when the first member repays can the next borrow. In urban areas where community identities are not as strong, 'stepped lending' - matching borrowers' own investments and gradually increasing credit with each repayment - often works better.

      photo: J. Stipe/Lutheran World Relief, courtesy of Photoshare  
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