The “Malta Microfinance” was initiated in Malta by the St Andrew Church. Active for 7 years, it has already helped dozens of people struggling financially in the country.
In September 2013 the St Andrew Church was celebrating the creation of a new project: “Malta microfinance”. This project aims to help people struggling financially who don’t have access to the traditionals banks by giving them loans to improve their lives significatively. Malta microfinance is the only institution of its kind in Malta and is based on the Grameen bank model in Bangladesh (1983).
The Bengali bank model was created by the Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus for poor women and widows. Since then, a lot of banks following that business style exist around the world and we count currently eight million people receiving support from them. Here in Malta the target audience are the Maltese women and migrants. The institution is situated at the Scottish International Centre at 212 Old Bakery Street in Valletta, currently under the direction of Christa Wiegand.
As mentioned above Malta Microfinance is aimed in particular at women and migrants, but everyone who meets the criteria is welcome; there is always the open door to discuss in order to find a solution.
The criteria are :
For people struggling financially for whom a small loan can make a significant difference in their life and who don’t have access to the traditionals banks.
The people who benefit from these loans must plan to stay in Malta and must be able to meet the repayments. This criteria is very important for the Church otherwise they wouldn’t be able to lend to other applicants.
The institution prefers to lend to a group of people even if some individual situation is also accepted.
When a person is in a very struggling financial situation the association tries to help in the best possible way, even if that person does not fall under the criteria that allows her /his to receive a loan..
What is the purpose of this institution ?
Malta microfinance was created to reduce the gap between the people who cannot have access to traditional banks and the others. Sometimes a little help can make a big difference... but only if you can receive that help. Society is loaded with people who don’t have access to loans and have no possibilities to improve their situation, when sometimes they are the ones who need it the most. There is also a lot of what we call “sharks loans”. These are people offering loans but with a very high interest rate and the applicant can’t meet the repayments and go into a little more debt every month up to amounts that are impossible to reimburse. To break this vicious spiral, Malta microfinance provides appropriate loans and accompanies these people in their future projects.
What does this institution offer ?
Different kinds of loans. Business loans for people who need help to start a business project, education loans, personal loans and rent loans that are the most common. Applicants go through a quality need assessment from the institution and are attributed a mentor to accompany them in the process.This mentor is a social worker/ person/expert, giving advice and support. All the relationships between the institution and the applicants are based on trust which is an important value here.
Christa Wiegand says: “If somebody is coming for a rent loan, we talk about and we check all these things. Because we are not a bank and we don’t want to just make sure that they can pay back but we want to make sure that they get in a better position with this loan”
The service is open to all, feel free to visit them, you will always be welcome.