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Microfinance refers to the provision of financial services to poorer segments of a society that would otherwise be ignored by traditional financial institutions. In some cases, these segments of a society may not have access to any financial services at all. In some cases, some services may be provided at a subsidized cost. In others, the poor must rely on expensive and exploitative mechanisms, such as village moneylenders. The goal of microfinance is to try to ensure that affordable financial services are available to all the poor. Services may include some or all of the full range of financial services offered through traditional financial institutions, such as loans, management of savings, transfer of money, and provision of insurance services. Neither the idea that the poor ...

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