Russia—Microfinance Sector Support Program (RMSSP)

Client: U.S. Agency for International Development

Duration: 2001-2006

Region: Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Country: Russia

Solutions: Economic Growth

In the early 2000s, the Russian financial sector was overregulated and served primarily large enterprises. Financial sector deepening had only begun to take place with the expansion of microfinance, which allowed for the creation of new financial institutions catering to small entrepreneurs and individual consumers. Starting in September 2001, the RMSSP promoted this deepening by creating a Russian best practice microfinance center to support the industry. Now an established part of the Russian financial landscape, the Russian Microfinance Center (RMC) provides training, consulting, information, benchmarking, and policy support services to Russian microfinance institutions (MFIs).

Sample Activities

  • Create and support the RMC as a permanent, financially viable, best practice center.
  • Transform the Targeted Awards-Innovation Support Program (TAISP) into a local Russian institution to support the growth of indigenous non-bank MFIs by providing them with capital to on-lend to microentrepreneurs.

Select Results

  • Established in July 2002 and active to this day, the RMC provides fee-based services to MFIs, regardless of their service model, methodology, or size. It became the clearinghouse for international research, tools, and manuals related to microfinance that have been translated into or written in Russian. The center also produced its own research, including a comprehensive analysis of the Russian legal environment, and published a monthly policy newsletter that monitored the legal and regulatory environment for microfinance, as well as efforts to improve the environment in the long term.
  • Transformed the grants facility into a debt fund to provide debt financing to Russian MFIs.
  • In total, 273 representatives of 154 organizations attended training courses.
  • Through TAISP, the project awarded 10 grants totaling $1,234,200 to Russian MFIs.
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