Tuesday, May 24th

Please click on the session title to expand and see full session descriptions.

9:30 am - 11:00 am

Balancing Act: Mission, Profit, and Impact in Microfinance  -  The North Pavilion

Can dedication to mission and the profit motive co-exist as seamlessly as some microfinance proponents suggest? On the other hand, can beneficial financial products really make any dent in the problem of poverty other than through 'commercial' models? How should we respond to studies suggesting that loans intended for small businesses are often used for other household consumption, or that microlending has no impact on the economic well-being of MFI clients? These questions have lately been generating headlines about microfinance around the globe. 

At Microfinance USA, we will challenge a panel of leading academics, entrepreneurs, and investors to bring diverse opinions and perspectives together in a lively discussion on the topic. 
Errol Damelin, Wonga
Carlos Danel, Compartamos Banco
Adam Davidson, Planet Money, NPR
Ananya Roy, University of California, Berkeley
Felix Salmon, Reuters
Eric Weaver, Opportunity Fund
11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Consumer Protection Regulation vs. Self-Regulation  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

Microfinance’s altruistic roots have been tested as microlending institutions grow and face challenges including financial sustainability, scale, and competition. What is the role of the practitioner in protecting the consumer and the benevolent mission behind microfinance? How should regulators protect both microloan consumers and the financial institutions with a social mission that serve them?Panelists will discuss both regulatory and self-regulatory approaches to consumer protection from both a domestic and international perspective. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Level: Moderate

David Berenbaum, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Michael Campbell, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Gina Harman, ACCION, U.S. Network
Elisabeth Rhyne, Center for Financial Inclusion

The Impact of Volunteers on Microfinance  -  Session Room: Bronx

Non-profit organizations in the United States have a long history of receiving volunteer support. Today, the volunteer workforce is at a 30 year high. How are microfinance organizations building capacity and growing awareness through the new volunteer workforce? Students, skilled professionals, and mid-to-late career-changing professionals are adding enormous value and advancing the mission of microfinance. Learn from microfinance and volunteer management professionals about their strategic and innovative programs and gain a new perspective about what your organization can accomplish by harnessing the enthusiasm, talent, and skill of volunteers. 

Level: Open

Rachel Chong, Catchafire
Erica Dorn, ACCION USA
Alexandra Jaffe, Kiva
Shannon Maynard, Bankers without Borders

Cities for Financial Empowerment  -  Session Room: Queens

In recent years cities have taken bold steps to re-invent their approach to poverty reduction to include an explicit focus on helping low-income families connect to the financial mainstream and build assets.   Participants in this session will hear from members of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition and CFED about the range of creative value-added roles that local government leaders can play in helping to educate, empower and protect residents in the financial marketplace. City leaders will also discuss the innovative policies and programs that are being used to enhance the financial security of low-income families during a time of deep recession. 

Level: Open

Cathleen Mahon, New York City Department of Consumer Affairs
Leigh Phililips, Office of the Treasurer; City and County of San Francisco
Ida Rademacher, CFED

Investing in Microfinance: Trends, Opportunities, and Challenges  -  The North Pavilion

For-profit investors utilize a variety of microfinance investment vehicles, best practices and strategy to drive both social and commercial returns. What are the challenges in investing in microfinance, post-financial meltdown? What are the latest and most innovative products that are attracting investors? Is microfinance a commercially viable asset class to investors, and will microfinance appeal to a wider array of investors as it becomes conducive to portfolio diversification? Join the industry’s leading investors as they discuss these questions and more!  Sponsored by Morgan Stanley

Level: Moderate

Kathryn Barrios, Developing World Markets
Ann Miles, Blue Orchard
Jody Rasch, Moody's Research Lab
Bryan Wagner, Morgan Stanley

Lessons Learned: Transformative Technology in Microfinance  -  Session Room: Manhattan

Technology has been fundamental in the success of branchless banking in both the U.S. and abroad. Join microfinance technology leaders in this session that will examine how technology is transforming the lives of the rural poor, which lessons can be applied to the growing U.S. microfinance market, and what the landscape of mobile banking (worldwide) will look like in 2020. 

Level: Open

Monica Brand, ACCION International
Sean Foote, Labrador Ventures
Kabir Kumar, CGAP, The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor
Sarah Livnat, Progreso Financiero

What's the Return on Investment in U.S. Microfinance?  -  Session Room: Staten Island

Microlending in the US has to compete for funder attention with many other strategies designed to alleviate poverty: educating poor youth, creating jobs, building assets, and other pathways to greater economic opportunity. To do that, it has to be clear about what returns funders and investors might see for their participation/investment. This session will explore several efforts at documenting return on investment—from microenterprise practitioner-focused efforts to a funder’s approach to evidence-based assessment of value. What are we learning about what microlending produces, and what else do we need to learn? 

Level: Open

Elaine Edgcomb, The Aspen Institute
Leslie Hoffman, ACCION New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado
Cecelia Tanaka, Robin Hood Foundation
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Entrepreneurs Supporting Microentrepreneurs  -  The South Pavilion

This session will feature business leaders who are supporting small business owners throughout America through specialized training and coaching workshops and partnerships with microfinance institutions to provide access to finance and credit. Panelists will speak about their own journey as an entrepreneur and why they are passionate about supporting small business owners.

Tory Burch, Tory Burch LLC and the Tory Burch Foundation
Jim Koch, Sam Adams
Stacy Madison, Fireman Capital Partners
Russ Yarrow, Chevron
2:45 pm - 3:45 pm

Designing Products that Promote Financial Capability  -  The North Pavilion

Recently, there has been a shift towards a more expansive approach to financial education, called financial capability. Rooted in theories of behavioral economics, this framework combines access to financial products and services with education and aims to create tangible and lasting change in the way consumers interact with their finances, setting them up to be strong financial stewards. Join leading researchers and innovative new companies employing these tools to improve the borrowing, spending, saving, and planning behaviors of their customers. Presented by the Center for Financial Services Innovation. 

Level: Open

Brooke Berman, IPA
Scott Crawford, DebtGoal
Timothy Flacke, Doorways to Dreams
Rob Levy, Center for Financial Services Innovation

Lasting Access: How Pioneering Institutions are Making a Business Case for Serving the Unbanked  -  Session Room: Queens

Across the country, financial institutions are involved in voluntary efforts to serve un(der)banked consumers through initiatives such as Bank On. While these approaches have shown strong initial promise, it remains to be seen if they will last beyond a few political or business cycles. Several innovative financial institutions are showing that by integrating access into their ongoing operations, serving the unbanked can become business as usual. 

Level: Open

Patty Avery, Old National Bank
Genevieve Melford, CFED
Suzi Sosa, MPOWER Foundation

MFIs Powered by Students: How Does it Work?  -  Session Room: Staten Island

Across the campuses of America’s most recognized universities, students are launching their own MFIs which have lent over $150,000 to date. In addition to providing loans, they mobilize student engagement, deliver technical assistance, and breed future industry leaders. One must ask: how sustainable are these organizations? Are they scalable? What is this movement contributing to the industry? And, should current industry leaders examine what can be done to facilitate this student movement? Join these student leaders as we discuss these questions and more.

Level: Open

Alex Dang, Global Brigades
Shawn Humphrey, University of Mary Washington
Travis Kiefer, Gumball Capital
Rohan Mathew, The Intersect Fund

Modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)  -  Session Room: Manhattan

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) connects private and public institutions to meet the credit needs of under-served communities, and is the central element in the legislative architecture that helped give rise to microlending in the United States over the past thirty years. Several bills are pending before the U.S. House of Representatives which would amend the Community Reinvestment Act to address the changing economic needs of our nation’s under-served communities. There is no more significant policy framework to support microlending in the United States than the CRA. In this panel, experts will present the key changes proposed by the bills and discuss why the law needs to be modernized, particularly in light of the subprime financial crisis. Learn what CRA means to microfinance and hear federal banking regulators’ views on the CRA’s role in community economic development. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Level: Moderate

David Berenbaum, National Community Reinvestment Coalition
Maryann Campbell, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Jim Keller, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Eric Weaver, Opportunity Fund
Mark Willis, NYU Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Planning

Globalization, Migration, and Remittances: Following the Flow of People and Dollars  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

More dollars are remitted by immigrants than all microloans made to small business owners in the U.S. each year. Unbanked and under-banked immigrants in the U.S. seek and interact with both traditional and alternative financial institutions in the process of sending money home. Remittances represent an enormous opportunity to expand fair and empowering financial services to underserved communities. Through partnerships with microfinance institutions, both the senders and recipients of remittances can enhance their access to finance. In the U.S., remittance service providers have been developing unique payment systems and relationships to facilitate these financial flows. This panel will explain the connection between microfinance and remittances, and discuss some of the challenges service providers confront in today's economic and regulatory environment. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Level: Moderate

Steve Karp, SunTrust Bank
Robert Mengani, New York State Banking Department
Kai Schmitz, World Bank
Donald Terry, World Bank, the U.N., the African Development Bank
3:45 pm - 4:15 pm

Break & Networking

4:15 pm - 5:15 pm

Microfinance Stress Test: Two Models for Measuring Institutional Health  -  Session Room: Staten Island


Capital Adequacy. Asset Quality. Management. Earnings. Liquidity. Market Sensitivity. Impact. Microfinance Institutions are complex animals. In this workshop, we'll learn about two models-CAMELS and CARS- designed to assess the health and impact of MFIs in the U.S.  Come hear how the models work and learn from the experiences of two U.S. MFIs who have been rated. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Level: Advanced

Paige Chapel, CARS
Deborah Drake, Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International
Elizabeth Givens, Opportunity Fund
Anne Haines Yatskowitz, ACCION New Mexico, Arizona, Colarado
4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

Case Study: State of Microfinance in India  -  Session Room: Brooklyn

With a population of 1.2 billion, and less than one-quarter of adults having access to basic formal financial services, India is a breeding ground for innovation in financial inclusion. In October of 2010, a crisis emerged with several MFIs blamed for unethical collections, illegal practices, poor governance and high interest rates. Yet the Reserve Bank of India publicly acknowledged the value of MFIs in providing credit to low-income households. The financial turmoil in India has prodded industry leaders, as well as mainstream media, to question the practical and ethical limitations to microfinance. Join these industry experts as they provide an impartial assessment of the current state of microfinance in India. 

Level: Moderate

William Abrams, Trickle Up
Lindsay Clinton, SustainAbility
Ash Lilani, SVB Financial Group
Asad Mahmood, Deutsche Bank
Elisabeth Rhyne, Center for Financial Inclusion

Microfinance Student Loans: Giving Youth a Little Credit  -  Session Room: San Francisco

Funding poor students to attend school through microloans is booming in the microfinance industry. Industry leaders are leveraging debt and equity-like investments as well as P2P lending models to provide youth (both in the US and abroad) with the tools necessary to pursue higher education. Yet, it is riskier to invest in students than entrepreneurs since students often have no credit history, the loans are longer-term, and there is a lack of enforceable contracts. Despite these challenges, the student-loan market has experienced significant growth. Join the leading players as we discuss the challenges, successes and future landscape of the new frontier of harnessing microfinance for student education. 

Level: Open

Susan Hume, The College of New Jersey
Noga Leviner, Lumni USA
Giovanna Masci, Kiva
Ashni Mohnot, Enzi

Microfinance Growth and Movement in New York City  -  Session Room: Manhattan

As the largest metropolitan area in the United States, New York City’s economy is a hotbed for small and micro businesses— over 200,000 operate throughout the city’s five boroughs. This, in addition to New York’s history as a cultural melting pot and immigration destination, has led to the emergence of a vibrant, innovative domestic microfinance community. This session will explore the history of the microfinance movement in New York, the spectrum of microfinance providers serving New York City’s small business community, and the unique challenges that microlending in one of the world’s most complex economies presents. 

Level: Open

Catherine Barnett, Project Enterprise
Jonathan Bowles, Center for an Urban Future
C.K. Chung, Lower Manhattan Center, for the New York City Department of Small Business Services
Paul Quintero, ACCION USA
Samira Rajan, Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union

Small Dollar Loans: Sustainable Microfinance?  -  Session Room: Queens

The FDIC initiated a two-year pilot project in February 2008 to develop case studies that illustrate how banks can profitably offer affordable small-dollar loans as an alternative to high-cost credit products. To participate in the pilot, institutions were required to create templates for loan amounts at or below $2,500, loan terms of 90 days or more, and maximum APR of 36%, among other criteria. The pilot program results indicate that there are models for delivery of sustainable small dollar loans. Join representatives from the FDIC and community banks as they share findings and lessons learned from developing these innovative financial products. Presented by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Level: Moderate

Michael Campbell, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Luke Reynolds, FDIC
Melanie Stern, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
4:15 pm - 5:45 pm

Growing Your Business From the Inside Out  -  Session Room: Bronx

At Count Me In we believe that in order for a women to grow her business, she must also grow herself. This 90-minute, highly creative and interactive workshop will help participants uncover the shared struggles and triumphs of women entrepreneurs; get in touch with their earliest psychological orientations to money, success and abundance; give them practice in pitching the essence of their businesses and receiving expert feedback. Conference attendees are welcome to observe this live coaching session with pre-selected microfinance clients and expert coachesPresented by Count Me In.

Isisara Bey, Count Me In for Women's Economic Independence
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Microfinance Meet Up  -  Almond Restaurant

Bring the conversation from the conference to life during this informal, interactive session designed to delve deeper into key microfinance topics or debate current and hot topics. Dinners will be organized in small groups in restaurants around the conference venue.
Choose from topics like:
  • Double Bottom Line Challenges
  • Future of Financial Services
  • Microfinance & the environment
  • Role of Volunteers in Microfinance
  • Technology + Microfinance + Mobile Banking
This year's meet up will be held at: Almond Restaurant 12 E. 22nd St. (between Broadway and Park Avenue South) Food and Beverage are included.

Hosted by: ACCION USA Microfinance Council, Center for Financial Services Innovation, Deutsche Bank, the Financial Women's Association, Global Brigades, Kiva Lending Team, Mayer Brown, New York City Bar Association, Trickle Up, (WAM-NY)Women Advancing Microfinance