A Word from Franck Daphnis, DIG's President & CEO:
(DIG Bethesda Team pictured above: Front row, left to right: Delila Khaled, Franck Daphnis, Mayada Baydas. Middle row, left to right: Marianne Carliez, Amanda Rodriguez, Tara Panek Bringle, Nerissa Deabreu, and Kaavya Varma. Back row, left to right: Thea Anderson, Bryan Winston, Michael Jenkins, Craig Matasick, Carlos Martin, Ashleigh Flesher, and Mark Hildebrand)
On behalf of all my colleagues at the Development Innovations Group (DIG), I am pleased to welcome you to housingfinanceforthepoor.com, the “front end” of our housing finance for the poor community of practice. Since September 2006, DIG has embarked upon an action and learning initiative focusing on understanding what types of services best help the poor house themselves in the developing world. The four-year initiative supports efforts to learn and catalyze scalable innovations in the areas of housing microfinance, mortgage finance for the poor, smart subsidies, slum improvement, and housing finance in emergency settings. This initiative is in large part financed through a contract with the Gates Foundation—though DIG is also pledging to include herein a comprehensive array of tolls and information we and others have developed outside of our Gates funding.
Product innovations will be a core focus of our housing finance for the poor initiative, with the mainstreaming of housing microfinance (HMF) and the development of viable and affordable “micro-mortgages” as cornerstones of our product development work. Housing microfinance is the application of microfinance principles to the delivery of housing finance. Micro-mortgages describe housing loans of long duration (generally ten years or more) that exhibit all characteristics of traditional mortgage loans (long repayment period, house as collateral for the loan, ability to foreclose and sell the house in case of default) and are small enough that they can be afforded by poor and very poor households. DIG will also seek to explore and disseminate how HMF and micro-mortgages work within the contexts of smart subsidies, slum improvement and post-emergency strategies. Finally, DIG is also proposing to promote the emerging concept of metafinance.*
This site, along with the many manuals, articles, lending tools and other pieces of knowledge it will feature, represents DIG’s effort to engage the larger housing finance community into our global effort. Please check back often, as we are only now beginning the process of documenting our findings and assembling some of the core tools this community of practice will seek to disseminate.
We look forward to your feedback and we welcome your own contribution to this growing community of practice. If you want to learn more about DIG, we happily welcome you to our website at www.developinnovations.com
Development Innovations Group
*"Metafinance pools individual cash flows to secure previously inaccessible high value loans that provide community rather than individual benefit. Metafinance loans are larger and of longer tenor than traditional microfinance group loans. Items of communal benefit such as potable water pipes, wells, latrines, street paving, drainage ditches, and electrical connections would be ideal candidates for metafinance." (from "Towards Metafinance", a forthcoming article by F. Daphnis and M. Walker.)
(Photo of CapStone branch office grand opening. Pictured above from left to right: Eric Adams, Ruby Al Salem, Franck Daphnis, Mayada Baydas, Bryan Winston, and Thea Anderson)