According to my Kiva Lender page I signed up at Kiva in 2006. I don’t know when i actually started paying attention more but as of today I have made a fair number of loans.
It’s not spectacular but it’s been a steady rotation of money lent back out as it was repaid. Recently though I’ve been thinking more about the interest that people are having to pay on what I lend.
I did know that my Kiva lending was funding loans already made. I was okay with that even though this fact is less than clear on their site. What I was less clear about and was becoming more concerned with was the interest that people were having to pay. I couldn’t find that information. It was also concerning to me that I was seeing more loans for items that did not generate a profit – lending $25 to someone who will buy fishing gear to then sell more fish means they should be able to repay it. But a home improvement? Can they really afford the loan? What interest will they pay? While I accept the risk of default what happens to the person from the Kiva Lending Partner? Are they threatened? Doorstepped? Added to some Debtor list for evermore? I could not find out.
It was also bugging me that when you checkout Kiva automatically add their “cut” and you have to edit that to zero. How you did that changed a few times. They really pushed their “cut” at you I thought.
I just read this post: The Kiva Fairytale: It’s a microlending superstar – but who is it really serving? and found it unsettling. The financial aspects as I read pushed me very close to the “Okay, time to stop lending” line. And then I read about a connection between Kiva and Opus Dei. I find that horrendous. Even if all the financial matters were clear and up front that connection really does mean I have made my last ever Kiva loan.