Unitus

Basics
0 Mysterious microfinance firm re-emerges

Clay Holtzman, in his new blog Nonprofit Kingdom, notes that a year ago the Seattle microfinance firm Unitus closed its doors, laid off most of its staff and didn’t really tell anybody (including some major donors) why it did so. Unitus, which had claimed its primary mission was to help…

World Politics
2 Yunus Watch: Microfinance pioneer further piled on

I’m sorry to reveal a bias here, but all these attacks and critiques of the Bangladeshi economist and Nobel Peace Prize-winning pioneer of microfinance, Muhammad Yunus, appear to be so obviously opportunistic (if not an outright smear campaign), I can’t figure out why smart people just keep piling on. As…

Basics
1 Former microfinancier Unitus issues vague statement on closure

The local microfinance firm Unitus, which abruptly closed up shop and laid off its employees this summer after coming into a financial windfall, has issued a long-awaited statement that it had promised would explain its actions. It is a statement, but not that explanatory — either on why the organization…

Basics
0 Microfinance, subprime loans and baseball

Is Microfinance the New Subprime? That’s the provocative title of a new article in the Harvard Business Review by financial journalist Barbara Kiviat and New York University economist (and author of Portfolios of the Poor) Jonathan Morduch. The subtext of the question is the implication that, like those sub-prime mortgage…

Basics
4 Turmoil in microfinance continues

The struggle for the image, if not the soul, of microfinance continues. Overview: Microfinance was created to help the poor by Muhammad Yunus, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for the scheme. Since then, many others have adopted it and some have changed the approach to become more profit-oriented –…

Human Rights
1 Unitus Move is Divisive for Microfinance Movement

As Bob Dylan once said, something is happening here but we don’t know what it is. Honestly, I can’t for the life of me figure out the meaning of the closure/restructuring of the Seattle non-profit microfinance organization Unitus. But it could be a watershed moment for the anti-poverty movement so…