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2019-06-06 - Colloque/Présentation - communication orale - Anglais - page(s)

Siwale Juliana, Godfroid Cécile , "Digitizing microfinance: Is there still a place for loan officers." in Sixth European Research Conference on Microfinance , Paris, France, 2019

  • Codes CREF : Economie des PVD (DI4375), Management (DI4360)
  • Unités de recherche UMONS : Economie et gestion de l'entreprise (W742)
  • Instituts UMONS : Institut de Recherche en Développement Humain et des Organisations (HumanOrg)
  • Centres UMONS : Microfinance (CERMI)

Abstract(s) :

(Anglais) The apparition of FinTech in the microfinance industry is more and more considered as a pathway to increase financial inclusion. However, in this paper, we argue that, by affecting the role performed by loan officers, digitization may also have detrimental consequences in terms of financial inclusion. Particularly, digitization could negatively affect the relationship between loan officers and their clients, and the literature on relationship lending shows that this may negatively influence the likelihood of a loan to be approved. In this paper, we aim thus to highlight the changes that digitization may bring to the role performed by loan officers and to their daily work, and to understand to what extent these changes may affect clients. To answer this research question, we conducted 21 semi-structured interviews with loan officers, branch managers and senior managers of four microfinance institutions in Zambia. The findings highlight a possible disruption to loan officers’ role as mediators as they tend now to act more as marketers and put forward that face-to-face contacts with clients remain particularly useful for monitoring clients, ensuring portfolio quality and fending off competition.