Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Departmental Honors


Economics and Finance


Microfinance for-profit organizations flooded the market in the early 2000's when microcredit demonstrated profitability. Ever since, an intense debate arose contesting the morality of profiting from the poor. Many for-profit microfinance institutions were accused of predatory lending through high interest rates and aggressive marketing and payment collection. In this paper, I examine the validity of the arguments for and against for-profits by extensively comparing the different target audiences of the charity sector and the private sector and the main arguments of each side. I conclude that, although the ability to serve the poor is compromised by profit motives, for-profit microfinance organizations are serving a different market—and a much needed one—than nonprofits. Therefore, for-profits serve a function that, as of right now, nonprofits are not able to.



Faculty Mentor

Ben Blau

Departmental Honors Advisor

Shannon Peterson

Capstone Committee Member

Kristine Miller