The Influence of Formal and Informal Institutions on Microcredit: Financial Inclusion for Micro-Entrepreneurs by Lender Type



This chapter applies the Helmke–Levitsky typology of informal institutions to discuss how the interaction between the formal and informal institutional environment has shaped the development of China’s microfinance industry. The chapter shows that formal regulatory framework influenced commercial ‘for-profit’ microfinance providers (village and township banks or ‘VTBs’) and public interest microfinance providers (microcredit companies or ‘MCCs’) in different ways. While MCCs suffer deficiencies of not being able to accept savings deposits, VTBs are restricted by the inability to charge higher risk-adjusted interest rates. Geographical separation and low levels of out-group trust constrain the development of microfinance organisations, especially when the organisations do not have strong ties to local communities This study was approved by the appropriate university ethics committee and subsequently performed in accordance with the ethical standards in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki. All persons gave their informed consent prior to inclusion in the study. Details disclosing the identity of the subjects under study have been omitted. The authors have full control of the primary data and have no financial relationship or conflict of interest with the organisations involved in the research.


Financial inclusion Helmke–Levitsky framework Institutional theory Microenterprise Microfinance Poverty alleviation 



China Banking Regulatory Commission


Microcredit Company


Non-governmental Organisation


People’s Bank of China




Village and Township Bank


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ManagementDeakin UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Economics, Finance and Entrepreneurship Group, Aston Business SchoolBirminghamUK
  3. 3.Richard J. Wehle School of BusinessCanisius CollegeBuffaloUSA
  4. 4.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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