Building assets to reduce vulnerability: microfinance provision by a rural working people's union in Mexico

Full-text sample article FREE from Taylor & Francis. Proyecto Tequisquiapan (PT) provides protective microfinance services in a small region of rural Mexico, including, importantly, open access deposit facilities. The authors report on new research which examined PT's record in enabling people with different degrees of vulnerability to build assets and protect themselves from both sudden shocks and more predictable demands for lump sums of cash. PT was found to be relatively more useful for the most vulnerable households. Its successes rely on its small scale and on the commitment of its staff, whose salaries are subsidised, to innovation and experimentation in order to remain relevant to members' changing and differentiated financial lifeworlds. This stands in contrast to the current trend towards large-scale commercialised microfinance. The World Bank, the authors argue, should take note.