Micro loan investing is not just a way for rich philanthropists to help the needy and make themselves feel good about themselves, while still making a buck or two out of the poor.
The micro loan industry is no longer reserved to the very poor in developing countries in Africa, South America or Asia. Recently such programs have come into existence which operate within the developed nations such as the US and the UK. They have come about to service the needs of those trying to set up or establish their own business who for one reason or another are unable to obtain credit via the normal routes.
Typically the loans available small and range from a few hundred dollars up to a few thousand dollars and the terms of loans are often relatively short, usually around 5 years.
There are a number of charities and non-profit organisations that offer micro loan programs. In addition there is a small number of more traditional investment funds now offering these loans and advertising them as a form of ethical investment for potential investors.
Micro loans are typically available to only those that cannot obtain credit through the usual means. Perhaps the person is homeless, recently come out of prison or for one reason or another has a very poor credit history. In such circumstance the loan originator will perform a credit check on the applicant however much of the appraisal will be based on interviews with the applicant and assessment of their business plan.
As well as providing the money to start or help a small business many originators also offer a mentoring service that will provide advice and support to the loan holder, giving their business a greater chance of success and increasing the potential returns for any micro loan investors.