Experiment: Franchising Microfinance. June 2005

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1 Experiment: Franchising Microfinance June 2005

2 2

3 India c ,000 rural branches 98,000 primary agricultural cooperative societies (PACS) 14,000 cooperative bank branches Thousands of mutual funds sellers Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) 154,000 post office outlets World Bank Access Study: 41% of rural households have bank account 21% have access to credit from formal source 30% marginal farmers have bank account 13% have access to credit from formal source High demand. How do private banks reach rural areas? 3

4 Problem #2 plenty of $$$, not enough MFIs Private banks see partnership model as a way to use MFIs to build rural reach But only 50 MFI partners, total MFI clients = 1-2 million Total demand = million households How can we expand MFI penetration to channel money from private banks into rural areas? Can this expanded MFI distribution network eventually take deposits and recycle money within rural communities? 4

5 What constrains MFI expansion? - Lack of huge subsidies for expansion - Need for local understanding from district to district - Organic branch-by-branch expansion model - Systems not designed to manage nationwide presence - MFIs hire loan officers, not branch managers 5

6 Is franchising a solution? Franchising: An arrangement between a franchisor (a manufacturer, a wholesaler, or a service sponsor) and a retail franchisee, which allows the franchisee to conduct a given form of business according to a given pattern of business and under an established name. 6

7 Can microfinance be franchised? Can running a branch-level microfinance operation make money? Can we quickly teach unskilled people to lend money? Do we need staff who are socially-motivated? How much control does an MFI really need to have? Can entrepreneurial fire drive growth and innovation? 7

8 Successful franchises McDonalds (fast-food) 25 years to reach 6000 outlets (>21,000 today) Curves (gym for ladies) 8 years to reach 6000 outlets (>8,000 today) New locations per year 1,570 ( 94-04) New members per year 731,200 ( 94-04) Revenues >US$ 1 billion 8

9 The concept 1) Find rural entrepreneurs (franchisees) 2) Show them that running a branch can be profitable 3) Sell them the business package and training (how to open and run an MFI branch as a bank agent) 4) Provide on-going monitoring and support, plus the link to private banks for on-lending funds 5) In return, take an up-front fee and a share of income 6) Do this with as many franchisees as possible at once 9

10 Franchisor (Leading MFI) CGAP funding to develop model Select Franchisee, train and equip: Systems, training, lending funds, monitoring Commercial Banks Lending Funds: Franchisor negotiates lending funds External Investors Equity Funds: Access through credibility of franchisor Up-front fee, Revenue sharing Qualified rural entrepreneurs (Franchisee) Towards increased geographical reach

11 Why franchising might work Constraint on MFI Growth Possible Franchising Solution Lack of startup/expansion capital Need for local understanding Franchise model attracts capital from entrepreneurs and investors Entrepreneurs are rural and will build MF operations in own locales Organic, branch-by-branch growth Systems can t handle wide network MFIs hire loan officers, not branch managers Franchisees make profits for franchisor from day one. Incentive = open as many franchisees as possible at once Franchisor business model becomes training and monitoring, not operations Find franchisees to run branch operations, let them hire loan officers 11

12 Project plan Define the business model Start with a strong MFI (franchisor) Convert processes and systems into a business package Develop a training program Figure out which entrepreneurs would be eligible Develop franchise agreements Identify and select pilot entrepreneurs Run a pilot, and conduct independent evaluation of results 12

13 Model advantages Potential to enable thousands of rural entrepreneurs to become lending agents in their own locales For Franchisee Driven purely by entrepreneurial motivations Franchisees access funds through franchisor s relationships with banks Incentive to grow rapidly to recover their initial franchise purchase payment 13

14 Model advantages Potential to enable thousands of rural entrepreneurs to become lending agents in their own locales For MFI Franchisees help expand brand to new areas Franchisor incentivized to build systems to maximize the number of franchisees and hence expand rapidly Additional source of revenue for franchisor Option to expand products to include savings, insurance, money transfers, and others 14

15 Main Constraints for Banks Low Profit Perception Regulatory Framework Support Infrastructure Mgmt Systems Skills Governance BANKING Branches, ATMs, etc. high cost Capital Inappropriate Products and Staff Orientation Environmental Institutional Channel Cost Convenience POOR CLIENTS 15

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