A loan you'll get back and more May 25, 2011 8:34 PM   Subscribe

The Metafilter group on Kiva.org has slipped to 7th place in new members this month. That's after two years and 233 members lending $42,250. Metafilter was number one for 10 consecutive months. Please help make Metafilter the best team ever.
posted by parmanparman to MetaFilter-Related at 8:34 PM (79 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

My $50 loan has been getting paid back at about a dollar a month since 2009. I may wait a while to recirculate that cash.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:39 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Out of curiosity, what's the rate of return? What percentage are in default?
posted by orthogonality at 8:39 PM on May 25, 2011


Yeah, what is the annual ROI for the metafilter Kiva group so far?
posted by Justinian at 8:40 PM on May 25, 2011


My annual ROI for a $50 loan is about 5%.
posted by parmanparman at 8:46 PM on May 25, 2011


It varies country by country. Currently, all of my own loans are to Nicaragua, where I have friends doing medical missions. I personally do not believe an ROI is the point of small lending. I hope you will see that micro loans do make a difference for a small producer to create a sustainable future.
posted by parmanparman at 8:49 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well I actually didn't even know about the site. I will probably join once I am gainfully employed again....
posted by MsLgean at 8:50 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I personally do not believe an ROI is the point of small lending.

If it's not sustainable (profitable) lending, it's charity, and we ought to call it that.
posted by orthogonality at 8:53 PM on May 25, 2011 [19 favorites]


Well thanks for the reminder. I have quite a bit out in loans, but I had some money in my account so I reloaned it.
posted by gaspode at 8:54 PM on May 25, 2011


If it's not sustainable (profitable) lending, it's charity, and we ought to call it that.

As far as my own loans go, I don't think of it as charity. Those people I have lent to who have contacted me personally do not consider a loan to be charity.
posted by parmanparman at 8:58 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Average delinquency rate for Kiva users is 1.88%, average default rate is 1.25%.
posted by edgeways at 9:00 PM on May 25, 2011


Hmm. I can't figure this out. I'm a member of both the Australia & Metafilter teams, but the loans I've made have only counted for the Australia team apparently. I only joined the Mefi team in November but I've made loans since then... but they're not included in the Mefi count. I've just now found a 'preferred team' box which I've changed to Mefi. We'll see if that makes a difference.

I may quit the Aussie team anyway. I find the fact that their messages are mostly used to arrange monthly breakfasts, um, distasteful. ("Hey, how about you forgo the extravagant breakfast get-togethers, and have a cheap picnic in a park and loan a little more through Kiva instead?")

I've made 6 loans since I joined in June 2010. 3 have been paid back in full, 2 are partly-repaid, and 1 has no repayments yet (but it's only new).

And opening that email from Kiva saying 'your loan has been repaid in full, you can now lend that to someone else (or withdraw or donate)' gives me a priceless warm'n'fuzzy feeling.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 9:06 PM on May 25, 2011


I'm starting a micro-leg breaking business, get in touch via memail if you need help with your loans.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:16 PM on May 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


I was a member of the Metafilter team, but withdrew my money from Kiva at some point after this post.
posted by lalex at 9:17 PM on May 25, 2011


The Metafilter group on Kiva.org has slipped to 7th place in new members this month.

Huh. That's a spectacularly convoluted statement.

Does it mean a) membership has gone down, b) the rate of recruitment has gone down, or c) the rate of recruitment has not risen as quickly as other teams'? If c), is the statement at all meaningful?

It's not a competition. So what if other groups are growing more charitable more quickly? Good for them!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:57 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Also, surely it's not membership that matters, but contribution, right?)
posted by Sys Rq at 10:59 PM on May 25, 2011


If it's not sustainable (profitable) lending, it's charity, and we ought to call it that.

If it is "sustainable (profitable) lending", it's usury, and we ought to call it that.
posted by iotic at 11:16 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


If it's begging for charity, should it be on MeTalk?
posted by Ardiril at 11:37 PM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The first person I loaned money to had started by selling dried fruits, then he started sorting his fruits by grade because he could make a little more that way. After making that extra money, he began buying and selling animal feed in addition to the graded dried fruit. He needed a little extra cash to grow his business further. He's paid that loan off in full and on time.

The second person I loaned money to runs a minibus service, and is a member of their country's transportation union. She needed a loan for tires. She's paid that loan off in full and on time.

The third person I loaned money to is part of a group of farmers. They farm local vegetables, and also breed chickens and pigs. She needed some fertilizer and some more animals, and so a small boost until she can turn her next profit. She's paying it off on time.

My experience with Kiva has been that yes, it has its faults. However (and here's my personal ROI), there are few times when I can spend so very little money ($25 is the minimum) and help people in such a significant way. It falls in line with the way I think (that we should help those with less), and I hope they see that people from all over the world believe in their ideas and are willing to give them a hand up when traditional banking is not even willing to talk with them.

I'm kinda proud of our little Kiva team -- 235 members strong, we've loaned out $42,550. We don't have the most members, or the most money loaned (that honor goes to the Atheists group, with over 15,000 members and more than $4 million loaned), but I believe we're making a real difference in the quality of people's lives. My thanks to parmanparman, who has the difficult job of being our organizer, and doing a great job with it.
posted by Houstonian at 1:55 AM on May 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


One thing that I've noticed lately that the Kiva partners are putting up lending pages for a female lender, and then somewhere in the text it's mentioned that the money is actually for the husband of the woman named. Things like "She has applied for a loan from [a Kiva partner] for her husband’s business."

I know there's a fair amount of people who select borrowers on gender (with women often less economically strong in developing nations), and it seems a bit like a bait-and-switch trick from these Kiva partners.
posted by bjrn at 2:47 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If it's not sustainable (profitable) lending...

Continual growth is not sustainable.
posted by DU at 2:50 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I know there's a fair amount of people who select borrowers on gender (with women often less economically strong in developing nations)

Also, Grameen found that women were less likely to default on their loans. Same is true for Kashf, a microlending group which targets women almost exclusively, in Pakistan.
posted by bardophile at 2:55 AM on May 26, 2011


Hmm. I can't figure this out. I'm a member of both the Australia & Metafilter teams, but the loans I've made have only counted for the Australia team apparently. I only joined the Mefi team in November but I've made loans since then... but they're not included in the Mefi count. I've just now found a 'preferred team' box which I've changed to Mefi. We'll see if that makes a difference.

Kiva will only allow you to allocate your loan to one team - I contacted them about this at one point and they seem pretty fixed in their opinion on it.

If it's begging for charity, should it be on MeTalk?

Its not begging, its politely asking. Mods have participated in this team, and allowed occasional posting on the matter.

"Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice."
posted by allkindsoftime at 4:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


Complaining that microloans aren't a viable business proposition for the lender seems to miss the point somewhat, as I don't believe Kiva has ever advertised them as such. Microloans are run as a business on one level, I suppose - the interest on them goes to Kiva's Field Partners, who do all the loan administration. Kiva lenders have only one role, to provide the capital.

I've been using Kiva for a few years now. In that time, I have loaned out over five times the amount of money that I put into it in the first place, and judging by my current stats (loss of $0.00, delinquency rate 0.72%) all the outstanding capital will be coming back. That means that if you want to treat it as a charity, it is far and away the most efficient charitable use of my money that I've ever seen.

Indeed, given that the only real cost to me is opportunity cost (and that's not particularly high, seeing as this money would just be in my bank account earning a tiny amount of interest otherwise), I'm seeing considerable impact for practically negligible outlay. Combine that with the possibility of doing something really good as a Metafilter community, and I'm very happy for the occasional MeTa post to pop up and try to recruit a few more into the fold. Long may it continue.
posted by ZsigE at 5:13 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


You just recruited another member!
posted by orme at 5:19 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]



If it's not sustainable (profitable) lending, it's charity, and we ought to call it that.


That's the conundrum of microlending, isn't it? If you charge enough interest to be profitable, it becomes clearly usurious. Keep the interest low enough to be morally palatable and you are definitely in charitable territory.

We subsidize all kinds of other things (like my house mortgage, the highway system, and tax incentives for huge oil companies), so I don't see any reason why some comparatively rich westerners choosing to accept very low interest rates on small loans is anything near a real problem.

I've written this a few other times here, but microcredit is no substitute for substantive improvements in institutions and governance -- things that improve the lives of everyone, not just a family. (In my own life, I want a city government that repairs the roads a lot more than I want the guy down the street to get a loan for his small business, you know?) But at the same time, access to credit is a huge barrier for a lot of people -- that's why I see three payday lenders on my drive to work every day. As a wealthier person, I have no problem using a credit card or bank credit to smooth over mismatched spikes in spending and income. A farmer in Senegal doesn't have that same access, and if programs like Kiva can help, that's great.

But at the same time, the outsized claims for microcredit leave a really bad taste in my mouth, and I'll admit to a lot of schadenfreude in watching the microcredit industry's problems over the last couple of years. I think the return to reasonable expectations is a great thing for the industry, and needs to be part of how it raises money and develops new programs.
posted by Forktine at 5:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Joined.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 5:59 AM on May 26, 2011


The Metafilter group on Kiva.org has slipped to 7th place in new members this month.

Yes, what does this mean?

Also, +1 new member.
posted by milestogo at 6:11 AM on May 26, 2011


Thanks for the reminder. Just reloaned what had been repaid.
posted by white_devil at 6:23 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm a member of both the Australia & Metafilter teams, but the loans I've made have only counted for the Australia team apparently.

When you go to Checkout, next to each loan in your basket is a dropdown menu where you can choose which team to credit it to. So I sit there for a minute and think, "Hmm, Atheists or MetaFilter, Atheists or MetaFilter, decisions, decisions." Since the Atheists group is doing pretty well without my help, I generally choose MeFi . . . unless MeFites have said a lot of especially pissy things about atheists that week.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I've made 23 loans now, not sure when I joined but mainly just recycle the money and little bit more every now and then. Must admit that I spend about 2 seconds on selecting to whom to lend and I never read the project updates, etc. Seems to be the right level of non-involvement for me.
posted by zeikka at 6:31 AM on May 26, 2011


That's the conundrum of microlending, isn't it? If you charge enough interest to be profitable, it becomes clearly usurious. Keep the interest low enough to be morally palatable and you are definitely in charitable territory.

I don't know why people don't understand this, exactly, but microloans are made at a considerable interest rate. It's just that those providing the funds -- Kiva users -- never see those rates.

The truth is that at certain points in life, nearly everyone needs to borrow money. If you are financial solvent and live in an industrialized country, that is very easy -- just get a credit card. That financial instrument simply doesn't exist in the places where microloans are currently employed.

Before microloans, you had to go to the local moneylenders. Moneylenders don't care whether their loan is sustainable, just so long as the borrowers can pay enough each week or month to cover the interest. The loans often have interest rates that exceed 100%. And if you think that kind of lending only happens in the developing world, think again. There are people throughout the US whose access to money is nearly as limited. If you would like to help with that, there is a movement for microfinance in the United States.

There is a purpose to the "high" (apparently up to 36%) interest rates for microloans.

With low interest rates, you end up facing a moral hazard: someone can hold onto a loan indefinitely without paying because the punishment for being delinquent is not significant.

But that's not the only source of the high rates. These are small loans, with large overheads. The truth is, the horrible corrupt, usurious moneylender is a far, far more efficient business than the microlender. No doubt Kiva and other microlenders have to jump through all sorts of accountability hoops.

Imagine if every time you deposited money in the bank, the bank had to meet with the business borrowing the money, find out how they were using it, and send you a progress report along the way?

I wouldn't be surprised if this accounted for 5-10% of the costs of each and every loan. If every time a bank lent $1000, it cost that bank around $75 to process the loan, what do you suppose they would charge in interest?

The truth is, on the lender side, Kiva is close to a charity. When you give Kiva $25, you are making a partially-returned donation to the idea of microlending. On the borrower side, Kiva is a bank that charges interest rates that are high from our perspective but not as bad as the traditional moneylender.

Kiva serves a definite need but cannot, in my mind, be described as pure lending or pure charity.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:39 AM on May 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


If it's begging for charity, should it be on MeTalk?

It's parmanparman's pet thing, but he last posted about it a year ago so that shows enough restraint for me.
posted by smackfu at 7:06 AM on May 26, 2011


Mods have participated in this team, and allowed occasional posting on the matter.

I'm mildly uncomfortable with this sort of "if mods participate in it, it's OK for the grey" exceptionalism. I know there's no bright line rule, but it feels sort of funny that the current first two posts on MeTa are a charity and a get-together at a con, things that I think are normally frowned upon for the grey, except when graced by mod.
posted by zamboni at 7:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Average delinquency rate for Kiva users is 1.88%, average default rate is 1.25%.

Mine was defaulted.

At some point I'll probably refund and relend, but right now I have other priorities. It also sucks that my first loan was a default.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:54 AM on May 26, 2011


I just joined the Metafilter group on Kiva. I hadn't heard about the Metafilter team before and I for one am glad that this was posted to Metatalk.
posted by peacheater at 7:55 AM on May 26, 2011


Deathalicious: "I don't know why people don't understand this, exactly, but microloans are made at a considerable interest rate. It's just that those providing the funds -- Kiva users -- never see those rates."

I wanted to stress this again. These loans are given out at rates that are similar to payday lenders. As well, the charity/corporation is pretty top loaded. Last audited financials from 2009, listed salaries for the top couple of people as 3% of the company total operating cost. Subsequently, the board has grown to this. I've not the time to delve into their financials, so I don't know if all the board members are compensated like the founders are, nor do I know how the addition of employees has changed the payout structures to the lendees.

I'm not saying it's a bad charity, in fact, it's rated well by Charity Navigator (at least it was before the growth of the board of directors). What I am saying though is that while I'm completely behind microfinance as a concept, I'm not sure that we've actually figured out how to really do it well, and I've been unhappy with Kiva's direction in the past few years. I've let my various investments ride, rather than pulling them out, but it still feels tainted, knowing that I'm putting someone under the stress of 36%+ interest rates.
posted by dejah420 at 7:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


For those of you who are asking if this is an appropriate post, I believe it's asking for money for yourself or even for a "friend" that is a no-no. Encouraging people to join a reputable charity is unproblematic.

And to the OP, thanks for posting this. I will be joining the Kiva MeFi group in the very near future.
posted by orange swan at 8:00 AM on May 26, 2011


I don't know if all the board members are compensated like the founders are

As Kiva is a non-profit, I would tend to the belief that the board members are not compensated. I'm not sure what their country of incorporation is and whether the rules they operate under are different from what I am used to, but every non-profit I have worked with has a board of volunteers who receive no compensation. This is the legal expectation in the US and Canada.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:06 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dunno, I was all into Kiva until I found out that the money I donated wasn't REALLY going to Mdodondo Ufurku of Ghana, and instead just went into a pool of money that was redistributed to other people LIKE Mdodondo Ufurku. I mean, it didn't bother me that it was going to someone else, because I'm sure they're all equally deserving, it bothered me that Kiva went through this whole elaborate pretense to make me feel like it WAS going to Mdodondo. And they bother me every once in a while to tell me, "$XX.XX has been paid back, log into Kiva NOW and see!" and then making me go through the elaborate pretense of "lending" my money out all over again, shaving off that all-important $7.50 "transaction fee" every time. Honestly, I wish they'd just shut up and keep my money.

Lately I've been donating money to homeless charities here in SF. Yesterday a homeless dude straight up took a shit in front of the bus stop where I was standing at, just straight up pulled down his pants and took a shit, right there in broad daylight. And that shit's just wrong. AND YET AND YET the charity I used to donate to (Project Homeless Connect) didn't return my call last time I tried getting ahold of them to make sure that my employer matched my donation like they said they would, and I'm all like, I just gave you $1000, least you could do is call me back. So like fuck them. I guess I'm donating to Glide this year :/

Why is it so hard to give away money?
posted by Afroblanco at 8:06 AM on May 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


OK, I see on some further digging that Kiva is a 501(c)3 in the US, and that the US doesn't specifically forbid non-profit board members from receiving compensation...so I apparently am off point on this. Still, it runs contrary to my experiences with non-profits in both countries to date.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:08 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm mildly uncomfortable with this sort of "if mods participate in it, it's OK for the grey" exceptionalism.

It's a thing we think about, to be sure. This isn't so much here because mods particpate in it as, yes, it's parmanparman's thing and there are a lot of MeFites participating. And MAXFUN is another one of those things that, yeah it's a conference we all went to last year, but it's also put on by a show the site sponsors and there's a lot of overlap. Which isn't that I don't see the grey area, but is to say that there aren't really absolute rules here and if people start thinking a thing is a problem, we have to sort of talk about it, we're not just going to start closing/deleting posts.

So again, I totally understand where you're coming from. It's tough to figure out what things are "part of MeFi culture." I definitely has the same weird feelings about the threads we've had on holiday "support a kid" stuff and other more relief effort type things. But overwhelmingly it's seemed to me, through my own personal lens, that more people like this opportunity (or like talking about it even if they don't choose to participate) even if I'm a bit of a curmudgeon about it.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:11 AM on May 26, 2011


Encouraging people to join a reputable charity is unproblematic.

Not quite. The trouble is that everyone has their pet cause, and so if you just say it's fine, then MetaTalk gets filled with a bunch of posts that no one cares about.
posted by smackfu at 8:28 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


And that shit's just wrong. AND YET AND YET the charity I used to donate to (Project Homeless Connect) didn't return my call last time I tried getting ahold of them to make sure that my employer matched my donation like they said they would, and I'm all like, I just gave you $1000, least you could do is call me back. So like fuck them.

I'm 99.999% sure that Project Homeless Connect had nothing to do with this dude taking a shit on the street and, even if they'd called you back, couldn't have stopped him from doing so.
posted by liketitanic at 8:38 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


MAXFUN is another one of those things that, yeah it's a conference we all went to last year, but it's also put on by a show the site sponsors and there's a lot of overlap

I'll be honest that I find the promotion of that event every year kind of cheesy. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is definitely the "cool stuff my buddy is doing" that is generally frowned on.

But hey, it's not my site, not my decision.
posted by Forktine at 8:50 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


never used baby shoes: "OK, I see on some further digging that Kiva is a 501(c)3 in the US, and that the US doesn't specifically forbid non-profit board members from receiving compensation...so I apparently am off point on this. Still, it runs contrary to my experiences with non-profits in both countries to date"

If you look at their 990 from 2009, (last year they've made public), you will see that there are 11 people making over 100k a year, and all of them are on the board of directors. (Page 7 and 8). To get to the 990, go to this page, enter "financials" in the search window. There doesn't seem to be a more intuitive way since their salesforce database serves it as a servlet.

I was surprised to see how high the compensation was to some of the board, and I also find it interesting that no female members of the board are compensated.
posted by dejah420 at 8:57 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Strike the last part of that sentence, that's an incorrect statement.
posted by dejah420 at 8:59 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm 99.999% sure that Project Homeless Connect had nothing to do with this dude taking a shit on the street and, even if they'd called you back, couldn't have stopped him from doing so.

The dude shitting on the street makes me want to give money to homeless charities. PHC not calling me back makes me want to give money to a homeless charity that isn't PHC.

(Glide is another Bay area homeless charity)
posted by Afroblanco at 9:02 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'll take a shit in front of you for money, and I'll even return your calls.
posted by gman at 9:17 AM on May 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


I was surprised to see how high the compensation was to some of the board

It is somewhat unusual for board members to receive high compensation, true, but the board members listed on their 990 that receive compensation are also the President and the CEO of the entire organization. They're also listed as working 40 hours a week instead of the 1 hour listed for the rest of the board members.

(I'm not in any way defending this. Nonprofit executives receiving huge salaries is a serious peeve of mine. And let me tell you, 132,500 is peanuts compared to executives at other microfinance organizations. Peanuts.)
posted by elizardbits at 9:19 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm a little confused - is it possible to get back interest on your loans? I've made 10 or so loans so far but only got the amount I loaned out returned.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 9:36 AM on May 26, 2011


I'll take a shit in front of you for money, and I'll even return your calls.

But that's what you do every night!
posted by Afroblanco at 9:40 AM on May 26, 2011


I haven't had a single default on the 11 loans I've made, though a bunch sat at "0% repaid" until their due dates, then got repaid all at once.
posted by nomisxid at 9:54 AM on May 26, 2011


I would totally donate to a charity that would have somebody shit for me. I seriously don't have time for that kind of shit.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:59 AM on May 26, 2011


I'm a little confused - is it possible to get back interest on your loans? I've made 10 or so loans so far but only got the amount I loaned out returned.

Yeah, as I understand it, no. I have no idea what parmanparman meant by a 5% ROI.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:01 AM on May 26, 2011


I've made 20 loans ($500 worth); 2 were refunded because of some problem, and one defaulted halfway through (loss of $8.33) because the lending partner stopped paying Kiva.

I chose not to direct any money to Kiva during loan transactions, so all my money was recycled except for the $8.33 loss.

Microlending is far from perfect, Kiva is far from perfect, but it seems to work as well as can be realistically expected.
posted by zennie at 10:13 AM on May 26, 2011


I was surprised to see how high the compensation was to some of the board, and I also find it interesting that no female members of the board are compensated.

Though there is no law forbidding compensation of board members for 501(c)3, it's very rare and unusual and not generally considered the best organizational practice in board development - although you will find some majors that do it, their argument being they need to to attract 'talent.'
posted by Miko at 11:01 AM on May 26, 2011


Wait, you only get back the initial amount you loan? That makes the ROI 0% at best. In real terms it makes it negative even before taking into account defaults.
posted by Justinian at 11:21 AM on May 26, 2011


The actual average ROI is warmfuzzies%.
posted by owtytrof at 11:39 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The actual average ROI is warmfuzzies%.
Which is totally fine! I'm just curious why 5% was thrown out earlier.

I'm just curious if there are similar organizations that do such commendable work as Kiva, but also give a very small ROI.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 11:42 AM on May 26, 2011


I haven't read all the comments in the linked "Questioning Kiva" thread, but I read the NYT article. If your money does not go directly to the person you choose, but instead is pooled with the microfinance lender in that area, then how is your loan repayment or delinquency calculated? Is it a pooled repayments/delinquencies from all loans from that lender? Or do they look at the repayment of the person you chose and apply it to your money, even though it didn't actually go to that person?
posted by Joh at 11:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]



The dude shitting on the street makes me want to give money to homeless charities. PHC not calling me back makes me want to give money to a homeless charity that isn't PHC.


So maybe they were too busy cleaning up shit off the sidewalk to return your call?
posted by liketitanic at 3:22 PM on May 26, 2011


I've been a member since 2009. I made one loan and it was paid back in April 2010. I immediately made another loan. That second loan has about $4.00 left to be paid back. As soon as it's back I'll lend again. I'd like to lend more often, but it obviously takes time for loans to be repaid. And I'd like to lend more, but I'm just glad I can leave the $25 in to be lent out again.
posted by deborah at 3:51 PM on May 26, 2011


So maybe they were too busy cleaning up shit off the sidewalk to return your call?

Actually, I tried twice. And I guess it doesn't help that my whole reason for calling was making sure they got a bunch of money.

... do you work for them or something?
posted by Afroblanco at 4:29 PM on May 26, 2011


I got all skeeved out by the colonialism of the "look at the poor, wayward other" of Kiva. So I just click on loans in the US. Because, while they're not my immediate neighbors, I like Louisiana, they deserve bars and nail salons and roofing businesses and I don't feel like as much of a pity tourist when it's a "charity starts at home" sort of thing.

In short, donated under the "Mefi" team. Thanks for the reminder.
posted by Gucky at 4:35 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


But that's what you do every night!

I've been following your responses for a while and that was just weak sauce. I KNOW you can do better. I believe in you. I know it with all my heart.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:13 PM on May 26, 2011


I'll take a shit in front of you for money

I'll read your metafilter comments, but there's no way in hell I'm gonna pay you for them!

There, is that better?
posted by Afroblanco at 6:33 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've made 20 loans over the past 3 years and I've only had one loan default. I decided that as I was repaid, I would relend as long as I could. I figured there was the possibility of defaults, but most people seem to repay. I guess I was hoping it could make a small difference for someone else.
posted by garnetgirl at 6:58 PM on May 26, 2011


I'm starting a micro-leg breaking business, get in touch via memail if you need help with your loans.

Where did you buy all your tiny hammers? Is this a niche market I should be investigating?
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:22 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've made a couple dozen loans in the past 2 years and I have never had one default. I guess I've been lucky? All of my loans have been credited to the atheist team though - I'll put MeFi for the next one, promise.
posted by arcticwoman at 10:31 PM on May 26, 2011


> It also sucks that my first loan was a default.

Yeah, that sucks. If you decide to give it another go (which I hope you do), be sure to check out the Kiva partner risk rating. Sticking to four or five star ratings should keep your lending money pretty safe.
posted by bjrn at 2:13 AM on May 27, 2011


Where did you buy all your tiny hammers?

Pianos from the school district's recently eliminated music curriculum.
posted by ryanrs at 3:52 AM on May 27, 2011


So when a loan defaults it's because the lending partner defaulted and not a failure of the "person" I picked? I put person in quotes because I understand it may actually go to someone like that person (which I find odd). If I pick a clay pot maker that needs a kiln that's where I'm wanting my money to go. It it ends up with a basket maker I'm not getting to promote what I like. The world needs more potters and less weavers.

Seriously though I couldn't figure out how my loan defaulted. I was expecting a sad story. "Leona was unable to continue to make both pots and pay off local protection" or some such.

Like I said, I'll probably give again at some point, but I need to increase the income (not the outgo) before I can do this again comfortably.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:57 AM on May 27, 2011


MAXFUN is another one of those things that, yeah it's a conference we all went to last year, but it's also put on by a show the site sponsors and there's a lot of overlap

I'll be honest that I find the promotion of that event every year kind of cheesy. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is definitely the "cool stuff my buddy is doing" that is generally frowned on.


FWIW, I'm the person who's posted the MetaTalk post about MaxFunCon for the last few years. I've done it because it's an event that's sponsored (in part) by MetaFilter, organized by Jessie Thorn, who is an active MetaFilter member, and a large number of MetaFilter members have participated in it in the past. This year, there looks like there will be less participation from our membership, so I probably won't post anything about it in the future. I sincerely apologize if my past posts were off-putting and...for lack of a better word, cheesy.
posted by ColdChef at 11:53 AM on May 27, 2011


cjorgensen: So when a loan defaults it's because the lending partner defaulted and not a failure of the "person" I picked?

No, it's the borrower that's defaulting (unless you have a whole Kiva partner going bancrupt or something like that). But the risk rating shows how well lenders of a certain partner are paying back. This includes lots of factors but for instance a highly rated partner might be a company that perhaps looks a little closer to see if someone who wants to lend money will actually be able to pay it back. Or at least, that's my rough understanding of how it works. There are also field partners who have a default protection scheme so you get your money back no matter what.

And my understanding is that if you lend to a potter that's where the money goes, but in a roundabout way. The potter has already gotten his or her loan, because they've gotten an advance by the field partner, which you are then covering.
posted by bjrn at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011


This will be the last time I post an update about this, as it really is going well on its own. I apologize if these posts have made people uncomfortable. It speaks volumes for Metafilter that so many people have gotten involved and stayed involved. Truly, community does live here.
posted by parmanparman at 11:58 AM on May 27, 2011


Anecdotal: out of nine loans I've made, six have been fully repaid, one has defaulted and two are currently delinquent. The one that defaulted paid back 20%, the two that are currently delinquent have paid back ~60% and ~80%. All in all, that totals just over $50. I guess I've had better luck than some of the other folks who have commented here, and thusly I'm going to keep working through Kiva. I can't speak for anyone else, but thank you, parmanparman, for promoting Kiva here, because otherwise I don't know that I would have gotten involved (and for helping us laugh about love, again).
posted by cog_nate at 3:13 PM on May 27, 2011


I've made 33 loans through Kiva and all of them have been paid back. This post reminded me that I had some money to relend and I have now made 4 more. Thank you parmanparman for the reminder. Life is kinda busy for me right now and I don't know when I would have gotten around to it otherwise.
posted by colt45 at 8:40 PM on May 27, 2011


This will be the last time I post an update about this, as it really is going well on its own. I apologize if these posts have made people uncomfortable. It speaks volumes for Metafilter that so many people have gotten involved and stayed involved. Truly, community does live here.

I'm on 27 loans, only one defaulted, and it generates a positive ROI for me by stopping me spending the money on electronic toys that then rapidly depreciate.

Like colt45, I also still appreciate the posts to remind me to sort it out.
posted by jaduncan at 2:22 AM on May 28, 2011


This will be the last time I post an update about this

so I probably won't post anything about it in the future

parmanparman, ColdChef, I do not think you got the memo on the new MetaTalk regulations? Please don't let one or two grumpies block out the sunshine and light.
posted by Meatbomb at 4:58 AM on May 28, 2011


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