Articles authored by Schreiner, Mark

Practical Notes

This paper describes the relative advantages and disadvantages of formal Rotating Savings and Credit Associations (RoSCAs), in contrast with informal RoSCAs, as seen in Argentina. NGOs, it is argued, are not in a good position to use the formal RoSCA structure to developmental advantage, since they could not manage the risk assessment or legal framework necessary with formal RoSCAs, which do not rely on social censure and capital for their operation.
This paper describes seven small ways for microfinance to acquire the virtues of informal finance, which are commonly perceived as slashed transaction costs, supply of not just loans but also savings and implicit insurance, sensitivity to the constraints faced by women, substitution of confidence in character for physical collateral, socially enforced and/or self-enforced contracts, and sequences of repeated transactions.


Microfinance--both credit and savings--has potential to improve the well-being of poor women in developing countries. This paper explores practical ways to achieve that potential. Based on lessons from informal savings mechanisms that women already use, the paper proposes two savings services designed to address the development issues that confront women. The proposals call for safe-deposit boxes and for matched savings accounts for health care or education.