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.
Vu Thi Quynh Giao, iSEE (Institute for Studies of Society, Economy and Environment)
Prof. Dr. Normal Md Saad, International Islamic University Malaysia
Michael Brosowski, Founder and Director of Blue Dragon Children's Foundation