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Financial Services for the Poor

DIG specializes in microfinance, housing finance, and public finance. We are expanding financial services for the poor by providing technical assistance and training– from start-up operations and product design to ongoing institutional support– to microfinance institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and banks worldwide. We assist commercial banks to downscale and perform sector-wide analysis of financial regulations and markets. Our specific areas of expertise include:

Microfinance
Housing Finance for the Poor
Public Finance
Market Assessment
Microfinance market assessments precede the product design phase and shed important light on: the nature of existing financial ser­vices, potential demand for finan­cial products, the market size, and the repayment capacity of poten­tial clientele.
 
Product Design
Designing a microfi­nance product properly from the outset may be the most critical step in the startup of a microfinance institution (MFI). DIG experts provide tailored training and advisory services in the areas of business planning, product design and pricing, operational method­ologies, and monitoring and evaluation.
 
Systems & Tools Development
Establishing proper systems and proce­dures is the next step towards ensuring the successful execution and sustain­ability of a microfinance operation. DIG works with MFIs, commercial banks and NGOs to develop the full array of institutional systems and man­agement tools, from loan applications and approval systems to operating manuals, employee incentive schemes, and management information system (MIS) requirements design.
 
Training for MFIs, NGOs & Banks
One of the greatest obstacles to main­streaming microfinance is the lack of adequate human capital. DIG helps MFIs, NGOs and commercial banks equip their managers, supervi­sors and field staff with the skills neces­sary to manage the myriad of challenges associated with running an efficient microfinance operation.
 
Supporting Regulators & Policy Makers
To a great extent, an economy’s regulatory framework determines the degree of access the poor have to finance. Therefore, in addition to providing institutional support for ensuring compliance with international best practice regulations, DIG actively researches and proposes pro-poor financial policies.
 
Linking Microfinance to Banks
DIG helps banks structure, train, and operationalize microfinance divi­sions. DIG also links commercial banks with MFIs through comprehen­sive servicing arrangements.
 
Youth Entrepreneurship
DIG helps create successful young entrepreneurs through innovative youth-focused microfinance and income generation programs. Through access to entrepreneurship training and credit, DIG provides youth with the resources and skills needed to start micro-enterprises and small businesses. Building these sustainable, demand-driven businesses is key to fostering economic growth and job creation.
 
Key services DIG offers in the field of housing microfinance include: market assess­ments; product design; systems and tools development training; design of guarantee facilities; and advising regu­lators and policy makers.
 
Micro-Mortgage Finance
As the capital markets in developing countries grow, the demand for mortgages is increasing. DIG works with governments, regulatory authori­ties and the financial sector to build their capacities to meet this demand, and to determine the feasibility of mortgage finance systems for the poor.
 
Economic Recovery
Housing finance can be an effective tool for economic recovery in post-emergency contexts because housing construction stimulates the economy beyond the sector, generating employment and the purchase of goods and materials. DIG works in post-disaster and post-conflict settings to provide the poor with access to credit, thereby alleviating the severity of their circumstances.
 
Policy & Regulatory Environment
The vast majority of the world’s poor still have little access to housing finance and their nations’ policy and regulatory environments do little to correct this situation. DIG applies best practices and provides governments and regulators with technical assistance to foster more enabling financial sector environments throughout the world. 
 
Municipal Finance & Cost Recovery
DIG experts work with local and national authorities to assess the feasibility of municipal bond floatation, and to determine how municipal finance initiatives can be leveraged to support development objectives such as slum improvement.
 
Small Infrastructure Finance
Small and community-based infrastructure financing differs significantly from mainstream microfinance and more formal municipal finance schemes. DIG works with local stakeholders to design innovative and appropriate financing mechanisms for small and community-based infrastructure.
 
Smart Subsidies 
Nearly all governments intervene in housing finance markets, primarily for social and political reasons. In general, DIG believes that subsidies should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time phased (SMART). Good MFIs should arguably be experts at assessing the financial circumstances of households in developing countries to determine if they are eligible for state subsidies. DIG provides financial institutions with technical assistance to understand how government subsidies work, identify the eligible clientele, and offer the services needed to access this assistance.
 
Public/Private Partnerships
Partnerships between public agencies or local governments and private entities leverage mutual skills and interests. DIG works with stakeholders to find common ground and structure viable financial arrangements.
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