The microfinance community often resembles a religious cult. Criticism is considered heresy and is not tolerated. Impact on poverty is dogmatically claimed but demonstrated in only exceptional cases. Above all, the sector is highly profitable, and the origin of this profit is simple: the poor.

Criticizing microfinance thus antagonizes those who have power and money at stake—the owners of the microfinance institutions (MFIs) and those who control their funding. The goal of my heretical act in writing this book is to shed light on the actual practices of the microfinance sector and to prompt changes that will skew the odds slightly in favor of the poor.

I tried to influence microfinance from within, during a decade of work in the sector ...

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