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The highest-profile microfinance initiatives are in emerging markets. In Europe, it follows that the poorer countries in the continent’s east would be the most amenable to the small-scale loans, insurance and savings that are core to the microfinance business model.

However, there is plenty of scope for microfinance in the richer parts of western Europe. In 2009, more than 84,000 microloans—defined as a loan of less than €37,000—were extended by respondents to a survey published in June, adding up to nearly €830m.

Read more at Financial Services Briefing: “Think small” (October 20th)