ROLE OF MICROFINANCE LOAN OFFICERS IN DEVELOPING ENTREPRENEURS: A CASE STUDY FROM SRI LANKA
Asian Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Studies,
Though the studies primarily researched the role of microfinance institutes in developing entrepreneurs, the actual “link pins” between the institute and the entrepreneurs are Microfinance Loan Officers (MLOs). Though its conventional role is assigned on them to collect the debt, today MLOs are playing multiple roles in developing entrepreneurs. However, their role has not been sufficiently researched in the microfinance literature, leaving a gap to be addressed. Hence this paper explores the role of microfinance loan officers in developing entrepreneurs in Sri Lanka. This is a qualitative study by using primary data collected from entrepreneurs who are the clients of a large MFI in Sri Lanka in terms of the portfolio and the client base. Data were collected through three focus group discussions with entrepreneurs. Each focus group consisted of 5 entrepreneurs representing the selected MFI. Thus, the sample size is 15 entrepreneurs from the chosen MFI and the unit of analysis is microfinance loan officers. The study found that, MLOs are playing a key, yet multiple roles in developing entrepreneurs at the different stages of entrepreneurial development process: MLOs carry out initial surveying of the clients on the site itself, assessing the creditworthiness before disbursing the loans, providing credit advice, facilitating training for the entrepreneurs and arranging of flexible approach for entrepreneurs under the critical circumstances. Based on those findings the study made recommendations.
- Microfinance loan officers
- developing entrepreneurs.
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