Although peer lending has emerged as the model of choice in many less developed countries, direct or individual lending remains the principal financing product in the domestic microfinance field. Microloans remain the primary financing tool that programs offer their clients. In addition some programs offer grant assistance, microequity investments, Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), and some additional savings options.
FIELD has encouraged, supported and tracked efforts focused on growing, improving and expanding the provision of appropriate financial products and services. Our work includes: Key Data on the Scale of Microlending in the U.S. Drawn from data collected during the 2009 U.S. Microenterprise Census that collected fy2008 data, this report seeks to better understand lending institutions and the financial products that they offer. The report then compares the largest lenders to smaller lenders to draw out additional trends and information. Dollars for Dreams: Scaling Microlending in the United States, which describes the experience of five microlenders that significantly expanded their lending as part of their engagement in FIELD's Scale Academy for Microenterprise Development. The document discusses their efforts and lessons in the areas of marketing and market research, loan products and pricing, underwriting and decisioning, risk management, geographic expansion, and more.
An exploration of promising approaches to increasing the scale of microlending to U.S. entrepreneurs through the Scaling Up Microenterprise Finance in the United States project.
Exploring and documenting the extent to which national trends in for-profit lending to microentrepreneurs were affecting the local markets of five microlenders in the publication FIELD forum Issue 18: Understanding National Lending Trends and Local Markets: The Role of Market Research (2006).
Identifying the use of credit evaluation grids as a way of standardizing and streamlining credit analysis; ultimately increasing efficiency and outreach to the poor. FIELD, in conjunction with ACCION USA, documented this research in Credit Evaluation Grids for Microlenders: A Tool for Enhancing Scale and Efficiency, (2002).
Managing the Financial Products and Services grant cluster from 1999 to 2001, which studied the use by five grantees of products, involved studying a set of products used by five grantees described as "small-scale, early-stage business financing," to assess for their fit in meeting the particular demands and characteristics of low-income entrepreneurs.