What is CERMi?
CERMi (Centre Européen de Recherche en Microfinance / Centre for European Research in Microfinance), draws together researchers, involved in microfinance activities in developing countries, from the Centre Emile Bernheim (Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles) and from the Warocqué School of Business and Economics (Université de Mons). The CERMi also collaborates with the European Microfinance Programme.
Microfinance provides financial services, including credit, savings and insurance, to poor customers with little or no access to the traditional banking sector. It has come to be regarded as a very important component of strategies aimed at reducing poverty. Over the last decade, the microfinance industry has experienced rapid growth creating a constant demand for new knowledge to help guide its development.
CERMi was created as part of the Académie Wallonie-Bruxelles, with the goal to become an active participant in this process. It aims to study the management of a wide range of microfinance financial institutions, represented by NGOs, cooperatives and commercial companies. Thanks to an interdisciplinary approach, CERMi hopes to make substantive contributions to the body of knowledge on microfinance which will help the industry deal more effectively with its future challenges.
From a microeconomic and managerial perspective, CERMi is undertaking research on institutional aspects including governance and risk management of microfinance institutions, as well as the concept of a client-driven approach toward the development of financial services and products. From a macroeconomic and sociological point of view, CERMi focuses on matters of regulation and local government policy, as well as the roles played by central banks and international donors. Links between microfinance and the traditional banking sector are also analysed, and throughout this research, special attention is given to ethical considerations that are specifically relevant and critical to the evolution of the microfinance industry.