As Shared Interest Society reaches 10,000 Share Accounts, our organisation’s growth can be a source of pride in work well done. It ensures that our reach is greater as we increase our assets and so our potential to influence events around the world.
Like most of us, I am not an economist by training, so my grasp of the practical workings of forces of supply and demand is hazy. However, what struck me clearly in my first meeting as a new Council member this Summer, was the frustration that exists when the organisation does not have enough money to satisfy need. A new concept was put before me – that of the ‘pipeline’ of financial support; at present, loan requests from overseas are unable to be fulfilled because of inadequate sources of capital here. Demand for our lending is often oversubscribed, as applications outstrip the ability to supply capital.
It is good to see that our early 2019 Rule changes mean flexibility in the currencies in which people can invest (with US Dollars and Euros now acceptable) and that the age at which young people can open accounts has come down. These alone will not clear the blockage in the pipeline however – more liquidity still is needed to ensure we have sufficient funds to lend.
The biggest potential for de-blocking the pipeline lies instead with current investors putting more funds into their own accounts when feasible, or getting friends and family to open accounts, so that sums available for investment increase. We continue to be the only social lender willing to finance almost three-quarters of smaller, more vulnerable groups and co-operatives in our Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa portfolio. As members, we all have our small part to play in assisting the Society get closer to its goal.