We were so excited to receive this email today from KivaZip, which gives microloans to budding small business men and women in the US and Kenya...as we have donated to them. In trying to find an image to put with the note, we also found some disappointing reviews about Kiva and Kiva Zip...the most egregious being that recipients are charged 100% interest on their loans! Hopefully this dated post from 2014 has given Kiva and Kiva Zip time to clean up their acts, but this article is gut-wrenching:
Here is an image we found touting Success Stories from 2013:
Chris raised $10,000 with the help of 126 lenders as part of our Little Rock Kiva City launch in March. His business Little Rock Urban Farming has a new vision for agriculture in Arkansas. They are actively engaging their community about the need to address public health with sustainable agriculture.
Here's the message we received today from KivaZip"
I am equally humbled and inspired to share this joyful news with you – the 50,000th Kiva Zip lender just made their first loan!
It’s a huge milestone for this community and we on the Kiva Zip team are feeling more inspired than ever by our mission to reinsert human relationships into our financial system.
We dream of a world where entrepreneurs are economically empowered by the strength of their character, rather than financially excluded by their lack of collateral.
Where their standing in their community counts for more than the flaws in their credit history.
Where hundreds of people lending in small increments of $5 or more can step forward to create opportunities, because they care more about making a difference in their local and global communities than about making a quick buck.
Where loans aren’t just about money, but are a way to connect borrowers with a supportive network of hundreds of business advisers, brand ambassadors, customers and new friends.
As one of the founding members of that community of lenders, I wanted to take a moment to thank you for enabling us to follow this dream.
Our Kiva Zip movement is like a house built with 50,000 bricks. We hope to continue to grow, one brick at a time, until we have built a fortress, a monument to the good that we can achieve when, together, we "be the change we want to see in the world."
Yours in deepest gratitude and service,
Senior Director, Kiva Zip
We will definitely research more before we donate any more...and hope that each of you will as well. Thank you.
We did write to Kiva the day we posted this, outlining our great concerns over borrowers' being charged up to 100% interest on loans. While we still need to research it further, we do appreciate this young intern's thoughtful response ...just received today:
Thanks so much for your email. It is great to hear you care so
much where the money is going, and I would love to try and ease your
We don't sell loans to companies, but we do partner with other
organizations on the field. We receive no compensation from these companies and
provide the loans at 0% interest.
Our partner organizations do sometimes
charge interest. Self-sustainability is critical to creating long-term solutions
to poverty, and charging interest to borrowers is necessary for microfinance
institutions to achieve this. While our Field Partners are free to charge
interest, Kiva will not partner with an organization that charges exorbitant
interest rates. We also require Field Partners to fully disclose their interest
rates. You can find more information about the interest rates that Kiva's Field
Partners charge on their Field Partner pages (kiva.org/partners) as well as on
each loan profile.
In addition, Kiva conducts routine monitoring of our
Field Partners. At kiva.org/partners you can find more information about our
Additionally, Kiva has been externally reviewed by Charity
Navigator with a 4 star rating. You can review the rating here:
In sum, there are many details behind how Kiva is actually able disperse funds to borrowers through partner organization, but Kiva does not receive any payment fromloans made on the website. I hope this answers your question. If you have any
otherconcerns or inquiries, please email me back and I can clarify further.
Community Support Intern