The Ron Popeil School of Microlending?
August 24, 2009 7:42 AM   Subscribe

Are there any mutual funds / stocks that invest in Microlending organizations?

I am interested in investing in microlending because of all the good it can do. As an alternative to laying out money from my cash reserves for a long-term payoff, are there any stocks or mutual funds that I can put my 401k/IRA money into that will invest it in businesses that microlend?
posted by soy_renfield to Work & Money (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I doubt you'll find much in this vein as kiva, et al don't return interest to you - only principal at best.

The closest you'll get is probably socially responsible investing.
posted by jourman2 at 8:44 AM on August 24, 2009

Arent most microlenders nonprofits that really don't return a lot of interest because, well, they're not making any profit?
posted by Think_Long at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2009

There are not many of these and even fewer for individuals. Most of these are going to be for institutional investors, because pretty much everything sold to individuals in the US needs to have daily liquidity. Example that are for institutional investors: Accion's funds, Triodos Fair Share Fund.

Some places to check: Microcapital and Council of Microfinance Equity Funds. There may be something like a closed-end microfinance fund listed on London or something.

The easiest, but it is not "pure" microfinance: Walden will incorporate this type of thing into their investment approach.

(If you were in France, you could do this through a Credit Agricole/Danone fund - a sicav is a French mutual fund.)

Not microlending, but similar ethos: a community reinvestment act fund.

From my experience working on a foundation board: if you offer a suggestion/complaint to a mutual fund company, there are some that will tell you to beat it, some that will ignore it, and others that will take your advice constructively. If this is important to you, then you can try to lobby a mutual fund to do more of it. For a clue as to who will listen to these kind of suggestions, look at how mutual funds vote their proxies. The ones who vote for more socially-oriented shareholder resolutions (expanded EEO policies, climate change resolutions, etc) are the ones who are more likely to listen to you.
posted by milkrate at 9:16 AM on August 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

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