The mission of ZiMB, Zero Interest Microfinance Bank, is to increase social awareness, social responsibility, and social value. ZiMB is founded and managed by a professor, students, and former students who engage in service learning and global citizenship. Through traveling abroad, members of ZiMB see a world where distance and borders are becoming less of an obstacle to building purposeful relationships. Thus, for ZiMB, the practice of being a global citizen is not only a priority but a standard.
The purpose of ZiMB is to identify Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) that aspire to integrate a microfinance component within their existing operations. This partnership between the NGO and ZiMB will increase the effectiveness of the NGO by providing direct and reliable loans at zero interest to its clients. By forming this alliance with its partners in the field, ZiMB will promote the ideas of global citizenship and perhaps inspire the next generation of social entrepreneurs.
Microfinance is used to describe the small scale financial assistance provided to low-income individuals or to those who do not have access to typical banking services. Microfinance also encompasses the idea that low-income individuals are capable of lifting themselves out of poverty if given access to financial services. In this way, small contributions from multiple individuals can be pooled together to provide small loans to those in need who, in turn, can invest, create and expand their own small businesses.
Members of ZiMB comprised of ambitious young professionals from diverse ethnic backgrounds, cultures, and career aspirations. Through the creation of social business projects, members of ZiMB aspire to do well by doing good – creating a profit arm to sustain the mission of ZiMB.
Our strategy is to create a complementary partnership between ZiMB and the NGO to improve social responsibility. We will be providing loans at a 0% interest rate to qualifying borrowers who will use the loan towards improving their economic condition and to create a better life for themselves and their family. The range of the loan will depend on the needs of the borrower. The uniqueness of the program lies in the fact that ZiMB will be responsible for recruiting lenders and maintaining an online lending platform, leaving the NGO free to do what it does best – form relationships with the people they are serving. These relationships will facilitate loan repayment rates in the long run, further ensuring the success of the program.
Beneficiaries are any client of the NGO who requires a loan for business startup, education, investment, or community empowerment. The relationship of the NGO with its clients is of utmost importance in evaluating and selecting potential borrowers. The borrower will be required to go through a loan assessment process determined by the NGO that should include income, capacity to repay, business plan, and any other factor that would influence the decision.
- Identifying and recruiting lenders and donations. Members of ZiMB will collaborate to raise funds through networking, fundraising, corporate sponsorship, and social business that will be used for microfinance.
- Creating and maintaining an online lending platform. This platform will bring lenders and borrowers together in an efficient and reliable manner. It will contain information about the borrowers such as name and biography as well as a picture. Regular updates on the borrower’s progress will be included for a higher level of transparency and accountability to the lenders.
- Due-diligence. This will take the form of a formal application and on-site visit to the NGO during the field-partner selection process. Once selected, the NGO is required to present regular financial statements, reports, and feedback on the effectiveness of the microfinance project. At least once a year, members of ZiMB will participate in an on-site visit with partnering NGOs and will assess the impact of the loans and decide whether or not to renew and continue on with the microfinance partnership with the NGO.
- Delinquency Costs. If a borrower defaults on any portion on their loan, the delinquency costs will be equally shared by ZiMB and NGO. For example, if a borrower fails to repay the full amount of $100 and instead only pays $50, ZiMB and NGO will each be responsible for $25. This way, the lenders can rest assured that their contribution to the program is safe, which will entice further contributions and more lenders.
- Borrower. The borrower will be required to go through a loan assessment process determined by the partner in the field. This will not only provide accountability but also reduce delinquency costs.
- Long Term Goal. Our long-term goal is to incorporate a successful microfinance project leading to empowerment of the poor and disadvantage youth in many parts of the world. The microfinance project, if successful will benefit the borrower reach financial independence, attain financial stability, and bring a positive impact with regards to the impoverished conditions of society as a whole.