More Information

FAQs

What is microfinance?
“Microfinance offers poor people access to basic financial services such as loans, savings, money transfer services and microinsurance” (CGAP).  Microfinance involves lending small amounts of money to people who do not have the necessary collateral to borrow funds from traditional financial institutions.

What are the effects of microfinance?
Microfinance helps to meet basic needs while protecting against risks that poor households may face. Also, the majority of borrowers are women so microfinance supports the economic participation of women and promotes both gender equality and household well-being.

What does GLOBE stand for?
GLOBE stands for GLOBAL LOAN OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUDDING ENTREPRENEURS.

When was GLOBE founded?

The proposal for GLOBE was submitted in 2007 and after 18 months of hard work and partnerships developed with 10 Daughters of Charity in eight different countries: Bolivia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Thailand, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the program and associated course were officially launched in  Spring 2009, with the first loans provided in late Fall 2009.


Who runs the GLOBE program?
GLOBE is a student-managed micro-loan program that engages students in international microfinance while fulfilling the St. John’s mission of helping the poor to help themselves.  Participating students work with The Daughters of Charity as program field partners to supply, distribute, and collect funds in eight developing countries.  GLOBE is governed by a Steering Committee chaired by the faculty instructor for the course (who also serves as the Program Director) and including members from across the University as well as advisors to the Tobin College of Business and a student representative. 

How do The Daughters of Charity work along with participating students?
The Daughters of Charity assist borrower candidates to complete the initial applications and then forward them along with their recommendations and comments to students and the GLOBE Steering Committee for vetting.  Final loan approval and loan terms are made by the students with the approval of the Steering Committee.  Once approved, the loan funds are wired to the field where the Daughters communicate with and distribute funds to approved candidates and subsequently collect loan repayments.

Do the borrowers have to have a concrete business plan before GLOBE lends them money?
All GLOBE applicants must include on the loan application a description of the business purpose for which the loan is to be used, and for what the money lent will be spent.  They also indicate whether the business is a new venture or an existing business that needs funds for expansion. 

What interest rate does GLOBE charge borrowers?
Loans are technically “interest-free”, however GLOBE charges a 3-5% rate, on a declining balance method, on all loans to help the borrower assume some of the responsibilities that are incumbent on any borrower in a microfinance context, albeit a very small fee in the case of GLOBE. These Loan fees, at 3-5%, compare very favorably with other microfinance programs charging interest of anywhere between 18% and 35%, and sometimes more.  Having a 3-5% “interest” fee allows for the education of both our students and borrowers, in addition to providing a cushion against defaults.

How much money does GLOBE typically lend to a borrower?
Most potential borrowers request a loan of anywhere between $60 and $900, depending on the nature of the business being funded. In 2011, GLOBE issued its first group loan in Vietnam. The $3000 loan allows four women to work together and mass produce dresses to sell at the supermarket. In the developing world, a small amount of money can go a long way to ease an entire family out of poverty.

Why does GLOBE focus on the developing world?
The GLOBE program is aimed at the needs of the poor in the most under-resourced areas of the world.  Academically, the program seeks to educate students about international issues related to microfinance, and serves to meet the global education vision of the University and the Tobin College of Business.  While students learn, in the context of the course, about micro-loan programs in the U.S. including those operating right here in New York City, GLOBE’s resources do not permit including U.S. loans in its portfolio at this time given the larger amounts of money needed to fund start-ups in the developed world. 

How can I make a financial contribution to GLOBE?
Use the online giving page to make your gift.  On the Designation category, select Tobin College of Business Global Microloan Program. Any questions please email tcbglobe@stjohns.edu.

How much of my donation goes directly to the borrower?
At least 95 cents of every donated dollar goes directly to our borrowers and related student fieldwork.

I am a student at St. John’s University. How can I be a part of the GLOBE program?
Undergraduate students with a GPA of 3.0 or better and with the appropriate pre-requisite for the course are invited to apply.  Applications are received by the Program Director and interviews are scheduled with all candidates for a seat in the class for the upcoming semester.  Classes run every Fall and Spring semester.  Opportunities to expand the program to include a course at the Graduate level are under consideration.  Further questions may be addressed to the Program Director at tcbglobe@stjohns.edu.