Targeting the Poorest of the Poor

In Cambodia, AMK has the lowest average loan balance per borrower. According to MIXMarket, AMK’s average balance at the end of 2007 was $86 per borrower. To put that in perspective the second lowest was AMRET at $164, which is nearly 90% higher. HKL, Credit MFI, and Maxima (the other three Cambodian MFIs working with Kiva) have an average loan balance of $603, $564, and $514 respectively. Currently, 93.4% of AMK’s loans are below $300 and their average loan balance is now $114. AMK chooses to keep their average loan balance low. They limit individual loans to $500 and they limit the amount an individual can take out as part of a group loan to $150. The reason they do this is because of their mission statement:

“To help large numbers of poor in Cambodia to improve their livelihood options through the sustainable delivery of appropriate and viable microfinance services”

In my last blog post I mentioned how most MFIs were trying to increase their average loan balances to improve their efficiency. AMK, on the other hand, has created a business model that relies more on lending to as many clients as they can. This allows them to use their capital to reach the poorest villagers in Cambodia. The data shows that this business model is working. In 2007, their loan portfolio started at $5 million dollars and grew to over $10 million. From this they made a net income of $823,222 and their return on assets was 9%, which is beyond incredible considering the average loan size. Also, I should mention that AMK is currently owned by Concern Worldwide and Concern Worldwide UK. They have returned all of the profits to AMK as retained earnings,  so all the money earned by AMK is reinvested back into the business.

Road in Toek Noem Village

Road in Toek Noem Village

AMK, just like every financial institution in the world right now, is having a hard time getting additional capital because of the credit crunch. Because of this, they are hoping to raise the percentage of their loan portfolio that comes from Kiva. Right now it is about 2.6%. For awhile AMK had limited the number of group loans they were posting because it was too difficult to keep track of them so they could report payments to Kiva. Group loans are usually a mix of monthly-installment loans, end-of-term loans, and credit line loans, so each group loan would have to have payments manually reported after each clients payments were tracked. This was a shame because the group loans are AMK’s best way of reaching the poorest villagers in Cambodia. Group loans can now easily be tracked with the new loan tracker I created for AMK, so they are now going to increase the number of group loans they post on Kiva. You can find them by looking at the loans with the smallest loan size per entrepreneur that are currently fundraising on Kiva.

If you really love what AMK is doing in Cambodia you should join the AMK Fan Club, a Kiva Lending Group which is part of the new Kiva that is about to be rolled out very soon. If you can’t wait leave your e-mail address as a comment and I’ll invite you to the group!


About the author

Sanjaya P