Microfinance organization MoneyMan, which provides loans through the Internet, is ready to take part in the formation of a credit institution under the auspices of the Russian Orthodox Church to service the unsecured strata of the population - the so-called "banks for the poor". The relevant proposals were sent by "interest-holders" on Monday, January 30, to the Moscow Patriarchate.
Usury "with God's help"
MoneyMan claims that their company has all the necessary competencies to create a "bank for the poor": the business model of the MFI provides a completely remote online loan cycle, and the company's innovative risk assessment techniques allow making a positive decision on granting loans to those users who normally Refuse banks.
At the same time, the church was invited to act as a source of funding for the organization, as well as a guarantor for loans. According to MFI representatives, more than 30,000 parishes of the Russian Orthodox Church are a unique network of institutions that are able to interact not only with believers, but also with all segments of the population. Thus, consider usurers, the church could "contribute to improving the quality of life of Russians", acting as a guarantor for microcredit, and also becoming a source of funding for a "bank for the poor", which can be created on the basis of technological developments by IFC Mani Men.
"On the whole, the support from the ROC could significantly reduce the rate on loans, which would increase their accessibility to the population," reads the letter sent by the MFI to the Synodal Department for the Church's relations with society and the media.
According to MoneyMan, the registration of loans will help many Russians to correct their negative credit history and increase their financial literacy level, and in the long term - no less than to involve low-income strata of the population in entrepreneurial activities.
Patriarch vs. "rabbits"
Note that the MFI appealed to the church almost at a time when the patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill, spoke about a complete ban on microcrediting in Russia. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church called on the State Duma to erect a "legislative barrier to the financial speculators of this kind."
"I believe," the patriarch declared in his speech to the federal parliamentarians, "that this is an absolutely immoral practice of usury in its most predatory manifestation."
According to the head of the ROC, often those who suffer from alcohol or drug addiction are the recipients of such loans. "The families of these people subsequently face the need to pay huge amounts of money that has arrived for a year, including through the sale of their property," said the patriarch, who called the representatives of such business "miracle-eaters" and recalled that this epithet was awarded to people in pre-revolutionary Russia, "Profiting from the poor."
On top of that, the highest ecclesiastical dignitary suggested thinking about the possibility of creating "banks for the poor" in Russia, having told that he got acquainted with such experience in India.
"Sometimes," explained the patriarch, "a man just needed $ 200 to start his own business." And so, he said, "there was a man, himself from the poor, who created an excellent system of banks for the poor - without these crazy percentages, without enslaving people."
"Charity" in Bengali
The man, about whom the patriarch spoke, is Nobel Peace Prize winner economist Muhammad Yunus. He created his bank not in India, but in Bengal (Bangladesh - one of the poorest countries on the planet). According to the International Monetary Fund, this country occupied the 149th place in the world in terms of per capita GDP at the end of the year before last. Thus, Bangladesh with 163 million people (more than in Russia) is nine times poorer than our country.
And in fact, Yunus became the founder of the very micro-credit that the patriarch criticized. He created Grameen Bank, a special bank for issuing social microcredit to the poorest sections of the population. Beggars offered loans to peasants at three percent per annum, about the size of a hundred dollars, almost on parole. And often the recipients of loans did not even ask for documents. And in the end, the peasants just fell into bondage, because they could not pay off.
As the history of the Bangladeshi "bank for the poor" has shown, most of its borrowers spent their hundred-dollar "wealth" not at the beginning of their own business, but on weddings and funerals. Ie on the inherent desire to demonstrate to others that "we have everything like people."
On the way to Peresvet?
As for the idea of involving the ROC in microfinance, then, in the opinion of experts, it is not feasible. The church in this case, at the risk of getting problems of problems with numerous non-payment of loans, can greatly impair its own and so not an ideal reputation. Moreover, as practice has shown, clericals are still those "effective managers". An example of this is one of the projects of the Russian Orthodox Church in the banking sector - the bank Peresvet (the church acted as its founder and the church money was circulating in it). Last year, he practically rested in the Bose, but now, by the efforts of the powers that be, he is "resurrected" and is on sanation. However, as they say, the ways of the Lord are inscrutable.
Without a doubt, credit can not and should not become a form of charity. The most efferent help is to give the starving person instead of a conditional "fish", which he still has to give with interest, "fishing rod" and guide to the correct fishing.
The state's task is to create not banks for the poor, but the conditions under which every person who wants and is physically able to work will not be a beggar. In the meantime, Russia's economic policy is producing poor people, the category of which has been smoothly flowing in the last three years, was recently considered, by Russian standards, the lower middle class.