Much of the work that Kiva does can only be done through our trusted Lending Partners, who perform on-the-ground financial administration for individual borrowers and provide other vital services in their communities.
Here’s more about how—and why—we work with Lending Partners.
Why does Kiva work with Lending Partners?
After Kiva launched the practice of crowdsourcing microloans in 2005, it quickly became evident help was needed to screen borrowers, disburse funds, collect repayments, and perform the other administrative duties required for each loan. The strategy of partner-facilitated lending is what has made it possible for Kiva to scale its impact, and for Kiva lenders to fund over $1.77US billion to 2.1 million borrowers around the world.
Kiva now works with Lending Partners in over 77 countries, which represent a range of organizations, including microfinance institutions (MFIs), social enterprises, and nonprofits. Each one is strongly committed to bringing financial inclusion to the 1.4 billion people across the globe who are unbanked and providing resources to help them improve their lives.
In addition to offering microloans and credit products, our Lending Partners often provide wraparound services to borrowers, including:
- Savings accounts
- Financial literacy programs
- Healthcare screenings
- Business and management training
- Peer support
What is pre-disbursal?
When a Kiva borrower receives a loan, the money is usually disbursed to them through a local Lending Partner rather than directly from Kiva. (Kiva U.S. borrowers are an exception; those loans are disbursed by Kiva.)
Borrowers always receive 100% of their loan amount, but the timing of when they get the money can vary. Sometimes the disbursal date on a borrower profile will be in the past, and what this means is that the loan has been ‘pre-disbursed’ by the Lending Partner.
Kiva wires its Lending Partners the funding for loans made through Kiva.org on a monthly basis, but gives Lending Partners flexibility on when they disburse those funds. The Lending Partner can choose to disburse the loan first, and fund it on Kiva later.
Lending Partners often choose to do this because when borrowers apply for loans, they generally have immediate financial needs—they may need to purchase inventory for their store or to pay for the costs associated with harvesting their crops. The faster borrowers can receive their funds, the faster they can put their money to work for them.
Pre-disbursal makes it possible for loan officers to approve a loan and bring needed capital to borrowers much more quickly than if they had to wait for each loan to be funded by Kiva lenders.
Lending Partners are required to upload pre-disbursed loans to Kiva within 30 days. Our review and translation team then translates the borrower’s story into English, and then the borrower profile is posted with photos on Kiva, where lenders can choose to fund their loan.
Your support is essential to help crowdfund these loans, and the money you lend always goes to funding the loan that you choose, even if the borrower already received the money in advance. When the borrower begins their repayment schedule, the repayments are passed on from the borrower to you.
Because Lending Partners can rely on these loans being crowdfunded on Kiva, there's less risk to approving borrowers that might otherwise be financially excluded. Even though loan funds may be pre-disbursed, this arrangement is made possible by partnership with Kiva and through support from individual lenders like you.
Read more about how Kiva works
Am I helping the person I chose to lend to?
Absolutely! Even though a loan may be pre-disbursed, there is still a one-on-one relationship between a Kiva lender and the borrower they’ve chosen to fund.
Whether you lend to Leoinya in Uganda so she can purchase supplies for her store or to Christopher in Ghana so he can grow his art business, the money you’ve contributed goes towards helping open financial opportunities for them.
As each borrower repays their loan, the lenders who funded it see payments register on their Kiva dashboards, giving them the opportunity to relend to new borrowers of their choosing. Conversely, if a borrower doesn't repay their loan, the Lending Partner will alert Kiva and lenders won’t be repaid. (Don’t worry, 96.3% of Kiva funds are paid back.)
If a pre-disbursed loan goes unfunded on Kiva.org, the borrower has still received the funds—and is still bound to the repayment terms. However, the Lending Partner will have to cover the cost of the unfunded loan, preventing them from being able to provide that capital to other borrowers in the future.
How do I know that borrower stories and loan details are real?
Much effort is put forth to ensure that every Kiva borrower on our website is represented truthfully and accurately.
Kiva staff regularly venture into the locations where our partners work to conduct verification surveys, which entail interviewing a random sample of Kiva borrowers. They compare what the borrower tells them face-to-face with the information posted on their profile, double-checking to confirm:
- Date of loan disbursal
- Loan amount and terms
- What the loan was used for
- Repayment schedule
These on-the-ground Kivans also make sure that Lending Partners are adhering to client protection standards and policies.
Read more about how Kiva works to protect borrowers
Behind every Kiva loan is a real person—someone seeking a way to expand their business, support their family or fund their education. We rely on our Lending Partners to disburse our funds and bring valuable services to communities all over the world.
It’s complicated work, with a straightforward mission: Financial inclusion for all. And we couldn’t do it without lenders like you.