In the states, much of the funding for microloans comes from the charitable arms of corporations or banks. They team up with organizations like Accion to comply with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, which requires banks to help the communities in which they operate.
"We fundraise for the difference," says Elizete Groenendaal, Accion's vice president of marketing and business development. "We don't make any money from these loans."
-- Reported by Carmen Nobel in Boston