Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thanks for joining the Community Conference Call today!

Thank you to all those who joined the Community Conference Call today. We had approximately 80 people participating, and heard directly from 16 lenders who shared their thoughts and comments on the call.

There were many different thoughts that were shared. In summary, they included:
  • Lenders should choose - Kiva is a conduit from the lenders to borrowers. Kiva should not be forced to choose the level of poverty lenders lend to.
  • The idea that US entrepreneurs cannot benefit from small loans is wrong.
  • Lenders should vote with their dollars, Kiva should not play a restriction game.
  • Working poor is working poor, the definition may vary by geography but they are still working poor.
  • Including U.S. loans adds concern about "competition" between loans of different regions.
  • Kiva's values and principles have changed.
  • U.S. is a place where loans are needed the least, not the most.
  • Loans to developed nations do not fight poverty.
  • Loans to developed nations dilute and divert resources from the developing world.
  • Kiva should alleviate poverty in the developing world before it starts working in the developed world.
  • U.S. loans displace loans to the poorest nations.
  • U.S. loans send an image to the developing world that we care about the U.S. over the developing world.
  • U.S. loans are insulting to lenders from around the world who believe they are in a worse financial situation than borrowers in developed nations.
  • Choice is one of the founding principles of Kiva and we should hold true to that.
  • Adding U.S. loans has resulted in a greater wealth of giving overall, furthering Kiva's mission.
  • Kiva should stay within its niche of lending to the extreme poor.
  • There are Field Partners that Kiva could work with in the U.S. which would provide borrowers in greater poverty.
  • We all know people in the U.S. who are poor, your geographic location shouldn't define whether or not you are considered poor.
  • Poverty is in the system, not the person. The system knows no boundaries, neither does poverty.
  • Kiva's mission statement doesn't define lending to alleviate "extreme poverty". Lending to poor people in the U.S. is within Kiva's mission statement.
  • U.S. loans are closing the gap between lenders and borrowers, and countries.
  • It's about loans to people, not loans to nations.
  • If you are suggesting that only developing world countries are worthy of receiving loans, you should rethink how you feel about being American. Suggesting that Americans will not put their loans to good use is insulting.

We value everyone's comments that were made today, and have taken note of them as part of our efforts to collect feedback from the community on the U.S. pilot. If you would like to make give your feedback and did not do so on the call today, please email our customer service team at Customer service emails are also a part of our efforts to collect feedback on the pilot.

If you have any questions about the presentation that was given on the call, please email your question to There was a significant amount of data analysis done for this presentation and we would be happy to clarify any areas around the data that was unclear.

We recognize that we restricted today's call to only being a feedback session, so that Kiva could receive feedback from lenders, and we did not answer any questions from the community. This was to maximize the time we could spend hearing lender comments. In all, we managed to hear from 16 lenders, calling both from the U.S. and internationally, in the hour we had scheduled for the call.

Kiva will be posting a response to the feedback that we have received during this period since the launch where we have been listening closely to what you have been saying. We will also let the community know what our next steps are in relation to this issue. This message will be posted here, on the Kiva blog, late next week.

In the meantime, the presentation given in today's Community Conference Call and an audio recording of today's call will be posted here, on the Kiva blog, within the next few days.

To echo Matt Flannery's comments today, we're proud to be part of a community of people who care so much about this organization, and we thank you for being so engaged.