As part of our recent Kiva Insights Call, our community submitted additional questions through lending teams, and we wanted to take the time to answer the most popular questions below. Thanks again to everyone who participated; we always love to hear from you!
Q: How is Kiva making less popular loans more attractive, and what kind of feedback does Kiva provide Field Partners to help fund loans?
A: There are a few ways we work to highlight loans that may be less popular or in need of support. To start, we try to work with our Field Partners to help them improve their loan profiles, headings, descriptions, pictures, etc. We also recently launched the “Featured Categories” on our Lend page as a way to highlight loans with a particularly compelling social cause, such as green loans, youth loans, and loans to rural communities.
Lastly, we frequently highlight loans and partners through our blog. For two great examples, check out these posts about Mongolian green loans and sustainable eucalyptus farming in Kenya.
Kiva seeks to build a marketplace where lenders can choose from a wide variety of loans and ultimately serve a greater range of borrowers. To help our Field Partners better understand what types of loans our lenders are most interested in, we’re also working to provide them with feedback through funding reports and your own comments within our community.
Q: Is Kiva working on a way to post loans at a steadier pace?
A: The short answer is yes, and some of the most common feedback we hear is about what our lending community calls “bulge loans.” This happens when a Field Partner uploads beyond their monthly fundraising limit and loans get held until the first of the following month, resulting in a large amount of loans being posted all at once. Our hope is that by giving partners more flexibility in their posting, and transitioning them from a monthly cap to an overall credit limit, this problem will be alleviated.
We’ve also been working directly with partners that are still on monthly credit limits to help them better understand “best practices” for loan posting to help avoid expirations and we’ve already seen partners change their posting strategy based on this feedback.
Q: Are there any plans to improve loan tagging?
A: Currently we depend on Field Partners to tag loans, and tags are often tied to fundraising limits for certain partners. This means, for example, that in order for a partner to post green loans, our team must first verify that the partner does in fact offer loan products to their clients that match Kiva's definition of green.
At this time, we aren't able to monitor every loan to make sure it's tagged correctly before it gets posted to Kiva for funding. However, that's where our lending community can be a huge help. If you see any loans that you feel are mis-tagged or aren't tagged when they should be, please let us know. This will help ensure that we are training partners how to appropriately use the tagging functionality, and also help encourage them to post more of these loans to Kiva in the future.
Q: Why are some Field Partners’ delinquency rates high, and is there any policy about updating the respective Partner pages with more information?
A: High Field Partner delinquency rates can happen for a variety of reasons and sometimes they may be temporarily or artificially inflated. Examples of issues that may result in high partner delinquency rates are repayment reporting problems, a small number of outstanding loans, late repayments by the Field Partner. We also don’t require Field Partners to make wire transfers under $5,000, so for smaller partners, such as Maya, their high delinquency may just be the result of them not being required to send funds in a given month.
These issues typically correct themselves within a reporting cycle or two, but it is important to remember that our team is routinely monitoring our partners in order to ensure there aren’t any larger issues at hand. As a team, we do our best to prioritize partner updates when we become aware of more serious causes for partner delinquencies or potential institutional issues. If there’s a partner that you have any questions about, feel free to write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: What plans does Kiva have for new lender recruitment in 2013?
A: Lender referrals have always been a great way to recruit new lenders and we plan to continue to promote these efforts in 2013. A lot of this happens naturally by word of mouth and invites, but new ways to spread the word are emerging.
One way is by making it easy for people to mention Kiva to their friends on Facebook and Twitter, either by re-sharing something that Kiva might have posted, or by telling their friends when they make a loan. We have been learning a lot about the best ways to engage with Facebook and Twitter, and we will use these learnings to improve our social media presence in 2013.
Another way we encourage new lenders to join is to occasionally offer Free Trials to people who might not try Kiva on their own, so they can experience the joys of selecting a borrower and seeing them repay their loan. In addition, we're offering bonuses to lenders who refer their friends to Kiva, and we plan to continue to offer these programs in 2013.
We've also seen partnerships with other like-minded communities be effective. In 2012, Nerdfighters, TripAdvisor, MilePoint, and many other groups were really excited to spread the word about Kiva among their bases, and we hope to build new relationships in the coming year.
Lastly, we have several exciting programs and announcements lined up for this year that we will be telling the world about through press, social media, and partnerships. These announcements often help us attract new people who haven't yet tried Kiva.
Still have more questions? Send them our way at email@example.com!
Brandon Smith Brandon is from North Carolina, where he studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. After interning at Kiva in 2012, he joined the staff full time in 2013 to serve as the Community Marketing Coordinator, Kiva's liaison with the 25,000 lending team communities. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys medium-format photography, biking around the bay, and keeping in touch with friends and family on the east coast.