Microfinancing & Microcredit. Introduction & Importance!
What is Microfinance?
In general, in the corporate world, in its dynamics and constant change, small businesses find it very difficult to thrive. Many SMEs and MSMEs will face challenges trying to manage loans, and investments, ultimately resulting in debt or bankruptcy. Leaving them worse off than when they started.
Microfinancing was introduced in Malaysia in 1987, as a concept dedicated to providing financial access to the poorest members of society, in hopes of reducing the persisting income gap. To put it simply, microfinance entails a broad spectrum of financial services made readily available to low-income, vulnerable communities. Its ideals are to protect and sustain local business owners from financial crises.
Not to be confused with the sister term “microcredit”. The difference between the two? Microcredit is generally used when referencing the extension of very small loans (microloans) to borrowers who lack collateral, steady employment and verifiable credit history.
What is Microcredit?
The concept of microcredit was designed to enable these at-risk communities to start small businesses and ultimately improve their livelihoods. With its introduction, the vulnerable, low-income communities will be able to access loans thanks to the waived requirements for any collateral or guarantors. Microcredit also has a much more lenient income requirement.
However, in this country, microcredit and microfinance are often used interchangeably because the majority of microfinance products in Malaysia only encompass microloans, rather than other financial services such as micro-savings and micro-insurance.
Why is Microfinancing Important for the Economy?
According to the Malaysian Department of Statistics, there are 694,000 micro-enterprises in the country, accounting for 7% of the total number of businesses. On top of that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) made up 5% of Malaysia’s 920,624 business establishments. Not forgetting that data provided by the Malaysia Statistical Business Register (MSBR) and the Department of Statistics, Malaysia (DOSM), indicated that roughly 48% of the Malaysian workforce was employed by SMEs in 2020.
By providing financial resources to the vulnerable, low-income communities, they have thrived in not only boosting their own income, and meeting their working capital but also generating job opportunities, further boosting the national economy.
Malaysia has three main Microfinance Institutions (MFIs), namely Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM), Yayasan Usaha Maju (YUM) and Tabung Ekonomi Kumpulan Usaha Niaga (TEKUN). With each annual budget release, the government has always pumped billions of ringgit, to support the growth of the nation’s SMEs and local businesses.
Where Do I Apply for Microloans?
There are three financial development institutions that offer microloans. They are :
- Bank Rakyat
- Bank Simpanan Nasional
For easier access, one can also opt to visit one of these banking institutions for the loans:
- Alliance Bank
- Bank Muamalat
- CIMB Bank
- Public Bank
- United Overseas Bank
Note: Some commercial banks might advertise their microloans schemes as Credit Guarantee Schemes, or SME Loans instead. Make sure to always do your research.
- M. D. Revindo & C. Gan. (2017). Chapter 3: Microfinance Institutions in Malaysia. World Scientific. Link.
- Loanstreet. (2021). Microfinance / Microcredit in Malaysia. Loanstreet. Link.
- M. D’Angelo. (2022). Microfinance: What Is It, and Why Does It Matter? Business News Daily. Link.
- N.A. (N.A). How Many SME in Malaysia? Malaysian Digest. Link.