Wittawat Hemtanon

Faculty of Economics, Prince of Songkla University Thailand
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An empirical analysis of Thai village funds and saving groups’ financial performance

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) play an important role in enabling poor households to escape poverty. MFIs cannot help borrowers if their own performance is poor. This study evaluates financial performance of Village Funds (VFs) and Saving Groups for Production (SGPs) to determine how well the MFIs are performing financially and how to improve the institutions’ future performances. The study evaluates MFIs’ performance, including MFI characteristics, outreach, productivity, financial structure and financial performance. Data are collected from the annual reports of MFIs between 2014 and 2016. VF and SGP annual reports were collected by the Government Savings Bank between 2014 and 2016. Data are analyzed using descriptive statistics, such as means, to compare the VFs’ and SGPs’ performance. The result shows that SGPs are bigger than VFs in terms of the average number of members and borrowers. However, VFs provide more loans than SGPs to poorer clients. In terms of loan management, SGP staff are more efficient than VF staff. SGPs’ profits are significantly higher than VFs’ profits. In the context of financial structure, SGPs are funded through member deposits, while VFs receive government subsidies. The results indicate that both VFs and SGPs are profitable and financially sustainable.

Journal of Risk and Financial Management

Microfinance Participation in Thailand

Income inequality is a major problem in Thailand. A key determinant of income inequality in Thailand is the lack of financial access to financial institutions for low-income families. Microfinance institutions (MFIs) play an important role in enabling poor households to access financial resources at a reasonable cost. The purpose of this paper is to investigate factors that affect Thai households participating in microfinance programs in Thailand. A multinomial logit model is used to investigate the factors that impact the Thai households’ access to microfinance. The study employs secondary data from the Thai Socioeconomic Survey (cross-sectional data in 2017) to identify factors affecting Thai household participation in microfinance programs. The results show that the Village Fund (VF) targets low-income rural households and encourages those with older household heads who have lower levels of education, and female household heads, to participate in their program. Larger households are more likely to access the VF. Households with higher dependency ratios are less likely to borrow from the VF. Households with well-educated, young household heads in regional areas are more likely to borrow money from Saving Groups for Production (SGPs). SGP borrower households have higher household incomes than VF borrower households. Our findings indicate that VFs and SGPs are credit sources in the rural credit market; these sources enable rural households to access credit to meet their needs. In addition, rural Thai households borrow from many sources so that they can rotate their loan repayments. Low-income households refinance their loans by borrowing from different sources.

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