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Following the recent global financial crisis there is a growing interest in alternative finance - and microfinance in particular – as new instruments for providing financial services in a socially responsible way or as an alternative to traditional banking. But correspondingly there is also a lack of clarity about how to regulate alternative financial methods particularly in light of the financial crisis’ lessons on regulatory failure.
This book considers microfinance from a legal perspective. Microfinance is the provision of a wide range of financial services, particularly credit but also remittances, savings, for instance to low-income people and it combines a business structure with social inspiration. The book describes some of the unique dimensions of microfinance and the difficulties which this can cause for regulators. The focus is on the European Union framework, with some references to some developing world experiences where relevant. The book assesses the impact and validity of current financial regulation principles and rules, in light of the most recent developments and trends in financial regulation in the wake of the financial crisis and compares microfinance with traditional banking. It also considers how microfinance fares compared with other government inclusive policies and other alternative instruments for financial inclusion. The book puts forward policy recommendations for regulators and policy makers to help address the challenges and opportunities offered by microfinance.