Myanmar: DAWN Microfinance Gears up for Higher Borrower Demand

Feb 2019
Myanmar, February, 04 2019 - Early Dawn Microfinance Company Ltd (DAWN) is expecting lending in Myanmar to pick up on the back of the launch of a credit bureau in the country later this year, and as the banking sector opens up.

"Myanmar is already in the process of opening up the banking sector and we see opportunities to serve the low income segment of the population as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) after the credit bureau is launched," Gonzalo González, chief executive of DAWN, told The Myanmar Times.

Last week, the firm officially opened its new head office on Pyay Road, Yangon, in anticipation of more growth from this year onwards.

As banking and finance in Myanmar evolves and expands to include more lenders such as foreign commercial banks and mobile money operators, Mr Gonzalez foresees a pickup in demand for DAWN’s services. He is expecting its client base to swell by as much as 400 percent, from 200,000 currently to as many as a million in the years ahead.

"In fact, we even see this company serving two million clients in the low income segments and among SMEs over the long term and growing our loan portfolio to US$ 1 billion," he said.

DAWN provides group-guaranteed loans, interest-bearing saving accounts and financial literacy training to low-income women who own and operate their own micro businesses. DAWN also provides larger individual loans to small business owners who are mainly in the trading, service and small production sectors.

The company is Myanmar’s third largest microfinance institution by number of clients and fourth largest by outstanding loan portfolio. DAWN is registered with the Ministry of Planning and Finance and operates with a license granted by the Financial Regulatory Department.

To- date, microfinance institutions in Myanmar have lent more than K3.9 trillion to three million small-scale borrowers, according to data from the ministry.

For the industry to continue its pace of growth, Mr Gonzalez flagged the need for a strong regulator and clear regulations.

"Regulators say they are in the process of implementing proper regulations that are aligned with the rest of the world. The country is moving forward so it is necessary to update existing regulations," he said.

"The next step for this industry is for all financial institution in Myanmar to cooperate and share information to build up a formal and comprehensive credit bureau," said Mr Gonzalez, adding that DAWN is among the participants of a data sharing system being implemented with the support of the Myanmar Microfinance Association and IT provider Thitsarwork.


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