Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic: How Microlending Lost Its Way and Betrayed the Poor

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Product Details

Berrett-Koehler Publishers
Publish Date
6.45 X 1.04 X 9.46 inches | 1.25 pounds
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About the Author

Hugh Sinclair has worked in microfinance with numerous global organizations, banks, and funds for over a decade. He currently consults on microfinance strategy and portfolio management. Previously, he worked in traditional finance at ING Barings, CDC Capital Partners, and BZW Securities--now Barclays Capital. Sinclair holds a master's degree in international and corporate finance from the University of Durham and a master of business administration from IESE Business School.

Among his accomplishments are being the first to deliver a Harvard Business School case study in Mongolian and achieving the Guinness World Record for the fastest motorcycle tour from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to the tip of South America. He speaks frequently at business schools and microfinance conferences.


"Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic is essential reading for anyone interested in development economics, a disturbing and yet ultimately hopeful exposé."
--John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hitman

"This is a very important and courageous book. Hugh Sinclair tells a gripping story of idealism, naiveté, callousness, greed, and corruption in the microfinance industry to show how it has been overrun by a new breed of loan sharks who make us believe they are helping the poor when they are actually exploiting them. This sobering tale should be a valuable guide to a reform program that will save what is still good in microfinance and help it make the contribution it can make without the absurd hype that has characterized the industry."
--Ha-Joon Chang, Reader in the Political Economy of Development, University of Cambridge, and author of Bad Samaritans and 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism

"An intriguing book that cuts to the core of microfinance. If you are looking to understand and invest in effective microfinance, this book provides an overview and helps you select the vehicle that suits your needs. Good microfinance is undoubtedly possible...structure, dedication, and full transparency is the way forward."
--Mads Kjaer and Tim Vang, cofounders,

"In often shocking but sometimes hilarious detail, Sinclair describes how he was sucked into the global feeding frenzy created by the microfinance industry's determined search for profit, and he angrily exposes how microfinance ended up destroying the lives of the very people it was supposed to be helping. For anyone who still labors under the illusion that microfinance is all about helping the poor, Sinclair's passionate, lively, and eye-opening exposé of the inner workings of the microfinance industry is an absolute must-read."
--Milford Bateman, freelance consultant, Visiting Professor of Economics, University of Juraj Dobrila at Pula, Croatia, and author of Why Doesn't Microfinance Work?

"Provides a devastating, insightful, and well-documented look into the tragic reality of how a good idea was derailed by the Wall Street greed syndrome. It is essential reading not only for anyone involved in microcredit but also for all who seek an end to global poverty and injustice."
--David Korten, Board Chair, Yes! Magazine, and author of Agenda for a New Economy and When Corporations Rule the World