CGAP's latest Focus Note, A New Look at Microfinance Apexes, offers an overview of microfinance apex operations, wholesale funds that channel public resources to multiple retail financial providers in a country.
Authors Sarah Forster, Eric Duflos, and Richard Rosenberg pull together a number of sources and data efforts to identify key trends and challenges facing apexes, and to distil lessons about how to improve apex performance. With at least 76 microfinance apexes in operation around the world, the largest 15 disbursing more than $1.5 billion in 2009, apex funding is significant, growing, and concentrated. The authors offer a series of recommendations for maximizing the chances for apex success, with recommendations calibrated for apexes operating in environments at various stages of market development. The paper offers vital background on apex performance for anyone looking to invest in apexes or to learn more about the state of microfinance funding.