As the microfinance industry has grown, there has been an increasing focus on the non-financial impacts that microfinance institutions (MFIs) can have. While the industry developed to tackle socio-economic issues through providing access to finance, its impressive growth led to increasing evaluation of MFIs potential social and environmental impacts. As a result, MFIs are increasingly expected to consider a broader spectrum of issues in their operations.
A recent article by the Economist hails a study in Bangladesh by Shahidur Khandker as "the biggest study so far [which] finds that microcredit helps the poor after all." Within the sector, the article has been widely circulated as proof that, indeed, microfinance does work.