Developed by the Fonds d’emprunt Québec, the Microfinance Mutual will add micro-savings and micro-insurance services to the microcredit, training and business advisory services already offered by the Fund. The insurance program will be delivered via a partnership with an established insurance provider.
The Microfinance sector has grown exponentially in recent years. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of microfinance institutions in the world expanded from 900 to 10,000, with loans growing from $7 billion US to $65 billion, serving the roughly 500 million economically active individuals who are unable to access financial services.
The microfinance mutual model has been well established over the last 20 years in Europe and the United States. But in Québec, special legislation was required to allow for a legal structure that could deliver insurance and financial services to its members, combining elements of Québec’s Insurance Act, which governs mutuals, and the Act respecting financial services cooperatives. The Fonds d’emprunt Québec wanted the structure of a mutual because “it is a business that belongs to its community. Its mission and objectives are bound to the development of people and communities. In this way, the users become the owners of their development tool.”