Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University
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The Microcredit Challenge: A Survey of Programs in California
Vol. Volume 6, Number 1 April/2001

Gary Painter and Shui-Yan Tang
Microcredit has increasingly been viewed by policy makers in the US as an important instrument for fighting poverty and promoting economic development in disadvantaged communities. Existing literature on the subject has been based mostly on experiences of a few cases. This article reports the result of a survey that examines a broader array of microcredit programs in California. The survey indicates that microcredit programs occupy a market niche distinct from other alternative loan programs in terms of loan characteristics and various operational features. At the same time, the number of clients served by the programs is currently very limited and none of the programs are close to attaining financial self-sustainability.