Disappointing: Kiva is hosting loan-sharks

Loan Sharks
Image by DennisSylvesterHurd via Flickr

I was a cautiously-neutral to the service of Kiva. Even though I was excited when I first discovered it, the criticisms of micro-lending and the fact that such a service is impossible to make any actual change and serves mostly to give a “feel-good” feeling to people in the developed nations made me lose a lot of that excitement.

Still I still had made a few loans at the beginning, and as those were paid back, I simply re-loaned them to people who would be charged as close to 0% interest as possible. Unfortunately. Kiva makes this selection extemely hard. Harder than it needs to be. Not only do they not display the interest the partner will charge to the person you are considering giving a loan to, but the interest rate charged by a partner is also the last thing you’ll find about them. It’s like Kiva is consciously trying to cover up the absurd fees some of their partners are charging. They do not even provide a search function based on interest rates which would at least come extremely handy.

But still, until now I was tolerant to the idea of Kiva mostly because even though most of their partners where charging a high amount, it was still lower than the median rates of their area. However this has now changed for the worse. Not only do most partners now seem to hover around the median, but I’ve just seen one of the most digusting examples I could find within Kiva

This partner charges double the interest and makes double the profit that most lenders in their country. This is a loan-shark put simply. And yet. This is a Kiva partner. Pathetic. I don’t even know if this partner existed like this from the beginning of Kiva or if they increased their interest rates later on. Their URL number seems to indicate that they were one of the earliest.

This is the last straw for me. I can’t even remain neutral in the face of how Kiva uses the mutual-aid sentiments of people to support the debt-enslavement and debt-abuse of the most unfortunate. Until Kiva can provide a way where people can discover those partners which charge close to 0% interest (Do you have any anymore Kiva?), then I would suggest you stay away from it. It seems Kiva is simply becoming a useful tool in the hands of those who only wish to profit on the backs of the poor.

About this entry