I was watching MPT tonight and saw something I think is pretty cool. It was started by an ex-Paypal employee, Premal Shaw. The name of the organization is Kiva. So the deal is, using your credit card, you can make a loan to those with businesses in “third-world” countries. I use the term “third world” loosely here.
The loan requests are typically very small. Say a few hundred dollars. Typical requesters run cottage businesses that they are hoping to expand. The requesters must go through a review process before the organization adds them to their site. Then the collective we donates to meet the need of an individual. When the loan request is met the show said most money gets to the requesters in under a week. Looking at the website the average payback period is about 6-9 months. So within that period of time the collective we would have our money back and we could choose to continue to participate by moving on to another loan, or we could hold off until another time.
“Peer-to-peer micro-credit,” qw they call it, appears to be a great solution to a difficult problem. We make small donations, well not even small donations, did I mention the loan default rate is 0% to date, and help others at the same time. While I do encourage out and out donations as well… this is a pretty slick idea.Spencer Shimko 10 April 2007