Kiva conducts regular, ongoing monitoring of all Field Partners, but only posts status updates here in response to relevant, major changes at the partner.

THRIVE Microfinance is a microfinance institution in Zimbabwe that was founded in 2012 by former Kiva Fellow Henry Bartram. The organization provides productive business loans to women that utilize the group lending methodology, and provides auxiliary training before and after loans. The training enables borrowers to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of their businesses and those of the other members of their groups. It also makes borrowers aware of the risks and liabilities involved in taking out a loan and ensure that they have a clear and profitable use for the money they borrow. They are taught to keep simple financial records.

The organization currently operates from two offices and currently supports more than 400 groups.

A unique lending approach:

Thrive has developed its own in-house poverty assessment tool.  It uses national poverty assessment statistics and has developed a series of simple questions that enable it to assess the likelihood that a borrower is poor and changes in the level of poverty over time.

Preliminary results indicate that 68% of all first time borrowers are likely poor and borrowers show improvements in their overall standard of living as they continue in the system.

Thrive also undertakes exit interviews and training evaluation to ensure that the needs of its borrowers are being met.

A note from THRIVE:

THRIVE is an independent organization and does not exist within a larger network that can support its operations.  It receives no funding from governments or other charitable organizations.  It is run on the basis of sustainability so that it is not dependent upon the support of third parties for its survival.  If we fall, there is no one to catch us and we operate in a challenging environment where many similar organizations have fallen.

Any profits are retained in the business for the benefits of borrowers – no dividends or bonuses are paid.  We expect to be broadly breakeven in 2014, our third year of existence.  We actively seek ways to reduce the cost to borrowers and recently introduced a lower rate so that borrowers borrowing less than $275, pay 3%/month compared with 5% for all other borrowers.  As we can reduce borrowing costs we will do so.

Zimbabwe is a high-cost economy.  Following hyperinflation, there is very little liquidity and our next-best alternative source of funds after Kiva costs us about 17% per annum.  THRIVE’s interest rates compare very well with nearly all lenders in Zimbabwe.

Costs to borrowers do not only consist of interest costs.  We spend a long time training borrowers and this is a key reason for our higher interest rates – we have to recover these costs.  As a result, we make fewer bad loans, which is demonstrated by the fact that our bad debts compare well with most other MFIs in Zimbabwe.

We believe that avoiding bad loans is a key responsibility.  We only lend for business purposes.  Bad loans are very costly to borrowers.  An inappropriate loan at low interest rates is more difficult to repay than an appropriate loan at a higher interest rate because the underlying income generation is not there.  The key to affordability for the borrower is not the interest rate (unless it is exorbitant) but whether the loan is to support a well thought-through business application that is likely to succeed.

Our training does not only help us to avoid bad loans.  It also helps our borrowers to manage their financial affairs more effectively.  We believe that the ability to make good financial decisions is a key life skill.  Even though we could reduce the interest rate if we reduced the amount of training, we do not believe that it is in our borrowers’ interests to do so.

A Note on Thrive’s Portfolio Yield:

We care deeply about the cost that Kiva borrowers pay for their loans, which is why fair pricing is a core part of our initial due diligence process for Field Partners. With Kiva's 0% capital, many of our Field Partners are also able to add additional value to their loans by reducing interest rates, offering non-financial services or creating new loan products.

For partners with reported portfolio yields or average APRs higher than 50%, Kiva takes steps to check that the high rates are justified by the impact of the loans. Kiva also verifies that the partner is not generating unreasonable profits or paying inflated salaries, and that the partner’s elevated operating costs are justified by its operating environment and/or the design of its loan products.

We seek to support loans that don’t impose an unjustifiable cost burden on hard-working borrowers. We nevertheless recognize that in order to reach vulnerable and excluded people with high-impact products and services, some of our partners incur high costs that necessitate charging higher-than-average costs to borrowers in order to allow for sustainability and scale. With this partner, Kiva capital is supporting a loan product that costs less than the partner's typical products.

Factors that drive up the costs that this partner organization charges its borrowers include:
  • They operate in Zimbabwe, which is classified as a fragile situation by the U.N. This can greatly increase the cost of safely delivering financial services to borrowers. 
  • They provide very small loans. This leads to higher operating costs, since providing each individual loan presents a minimum per-unit cost.
  • They provide very short term loans, which leads to higher operating costs, since each short-term loan generates a smaller amount of revenue than a longer-term loan.
  • They provide more than just cash to many of their borrowers, including costly wraparound services such as healthcare, financial or business training, agricultural extension services, insurance or access to education.
  • They’re based in an area with a high cost of living and doing business. This is often due to the high demand and low supply of adequate housing and goods.
  • They’re a small company or organization that hasn’t yet achieved the scale and efficiency necessary to reach sustainability and reduce pricing, but the impact of their services merits the opportunity to prove their business model.
  • This partner is working in a country where doing business is difficult and costly due to regulatory, procedural and governance issues.
  • They operate in an area with a limited or poorly functioning banking system. This makes it difficult to access funding locally, and makes it more challenging to send and receive payments on loans from outside the country.
 

 


Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva May 8, 2014 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $987,950 $864,089,775
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $378,925
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 245
Amount of Paying Back Loans $274,750 $136,644,550
Number of Paying Back Loans 218 166,002
Amount of Ended Loans $713,200 $727,066,300
Number of Ended Loans 461 903,193
Delinquency Rate 4.36% 8.22%
Amount in Arrears $7,269 $7,295,607
Outstanding Portfolio $166,555 $88,711,476
Number of Loans Delinquent 29 22,238
Default Rate 0.45% 1.32%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $3,176 $9,621,719
Amount of Ended Loans $713,200 $727,066,300
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 8 26,679
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.43%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $3,748,624
Refund Rate 0.00% 0.64%
Amount of Refunded Loans $25 $5,544,100
Number of Refunded Loans 1 5,818

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 100.00% 74.85%
Average Loan Size $385 $407
Average Individual Loan Size $585 $640
Average Group Loan Size $1,466 $1,805
Average number of borrowers per group 3.8 7.8
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $2,000 $5,937
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 19.27% 6.86%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 5.62 days 6.9 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $68.64 $59.06
  Average Loan Term 6.91 months 11.04 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 158 438,945
  Journaling Rate 21.14% 41.47%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.00 0.05
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.00 1.29

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2016 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower 69% APR 59.00% PY 27.39% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) -1.3% N/A -0.64%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 138.00% 19.18%

Country Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Henry Bartram
Daisy Sibanda