Credit Risk in the Microfinance Industry: The Role of Gender Affinity

Antonio Blanco-Oliver*, Nuria Reguera Alvarado, Gianluca Veronesi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


This study explores the role played by gender in lending transactions and specifically its effects on the loan portfolio credit risk of microfinance institutions (MFIs). Using a multicountry data set of developing countries, where MFIs mainly operate, the analysis shows that a higher proportion of female loan officers increases the loan portfolio at risk. Nonetheless, we also find that this positive relationship is negatively mediated by the gender affinity between female loan officers and female borrowers. Gender affinity suggests that female loan officers are more likely to lend to female borrowers, and this reduces the default rate of loans offered by MFIs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-311
Number of pages32
JournalJournal of Small Business Management
Issue number2
Early online date2 Feb 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Feb 2021


  • Microfinance
  • Gender
  • Entrepreneurship


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