The purpose of this study was to determine which organizational characteristics, if any, play a role in the success of microfinance organizations currently serving Los Angeles county. According to the FIELD directory from 2008, there are currently seven MFIs serving the citizens of Los Angeles county. At the time of this study six out of the seven organizations continue to operate. Members from each of these six organizations were interviewed for the study. In order to determine whether or not lending-specific aspects of each organization had bearing on their success, leaders from two non-lending organizations were also interviewed. Responses were then examined to determine similarities and differences among the organizations. The study found that there were several common themes to the responses. The organizations view themselves as offering assistance to people so that they can find their own way out of poverty - a "helping hand, not a hand out." They expect their clients to repay their loans, and will not lend out money to someone who does not meet income requirements. The funding that these organizations receive comes from a variety of sources - banks, corporations, and private foundations. The current state of the economy is a concern for all of the organizations, because for them it means they are having to spend more time and energy fundraising, for the same amount of money they have received in the past, or in some cases, for less money than they have received in the past. The future of these organizations, as well as the microloan industry as a whole, is something that the respondents are cautiously optimistic about. They hope to weather the current economic storm, and to be able to lend out more money to more clients in the future, and to provide more technical assistance to those clients as well.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Microfinance -- United States; Organizational effectiveness

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

McManus, John F.;