A High School Microcredit Bank

An encouraging new trend in microfinance has been the increases of projects led by teenagers.

The Meadows is an elite private high school in Las Vegas, Nevada. Last year, a small group of these high schoolers decided to start their own microbank. Justin Blau is the student mastermind behind the project, now the Chief Executive of Meadows High Microbank. More than just an after school club, the Microbank has real world impact.

The students began by raising over $25,000 in seed money. According to the Las Vegas Sun, the students set strict lending standards, “including that no more than 15 percent of the bank’s capital be in a single country, and that no loans are made through microfinance institutions that have a default rate greater than 5 percent. The default rate is significantly higher for U.S. microloans, so the students have opted for less risky international lending.” Harnessing the powers of internet research, the students carefully weeded through the dozens of microfinance institutions, settling on a few big name programs like Kiva and MicroPlace.com, among others.

The Microbank has been a rewarding learning experience, and also successful and profitable. The microbank’s balance at the end of the academic year is expected to be about $30,000.

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