Gabriela Pinheiro da Rocha Campos - Orientador: Victor Eduardo da Motta



[INTRODUÇÃO] The effect of borrowers’ gender has been extensively studied in microfinance institutions (MFIs). Although research has shown that gender has an impact on loan size and interest rates in MFIs, since women typically have smaller loans, few studies have assessed the role of loan officer gender on borrowing transactions. Within microfinance, loan officers have a very active role, being in frequent contact with their clients. Recent literature has found that the pairing of borrowers with loan-officers of the opposite sex affects loan size and maturity. However, there is little empirical evidence on the effect of loan officer gender on default rates, especially one that takes a worldwide approach, rather than a regional one.  [METODOLOGIA] We analyse MFI data coming from the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX), a nonprofit organization that facilitates access to quality financial data in the microfinance industry. Our empirical strategy mainly tests the hypothesis that MFIs with a higher proportion of female loan officers will negatively impact loan delinquency rate. The empirical model is estimated through a panel OLS model with country and time fixed effects. [RESULTADOS] Results from the OLS regressions found a negative relationship between the percentage of women loan officers and portfolio at risk. In other words, our findings indicate that higher proportions of women working as loan officers increase repayment rates. However, our relationship is not statistically significant, suggesting that loan officer gender has no impact on MFI repayment rates when examining MFIs worldwide. Our results also show a marginal statistically significant relationship between percentage of women staff and MFI repayment rates, as well as a negative relationship between better performing MFIs and default rates.  [CONCLUSÃO] This paper analyses the impact of Gender of Loan Officers and Staff on MFI Repayment Rate using extensive data from the Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX). This is important because the role of loan officer gender has not been extensively studied within microfinance, despite gender being significant in impacting loan type and size. Our findings indicate that although higher proportions of women working as loan officers increases repayment rates, this relationship is not statistically significant. This contradicts previous findings and may imply that cultural characteristics play a significant role in defining how borrowers react to loan officers’ genders. Additionally, we also found a marginally statistically significant relationship between MFIs with a larger percentage of female staff and default rates and a significant negative relationship between total assets, operational self-sufficiency and yield on gross loan portfolio on portfolios at risk in both 30 and 90 days.