Loan take-up and use: The intervention led to a significant increase in borrowing in the treatment villages, and women in group-lending villages were more likely to borrow than women in individual-lending villages. After approximately 14 months, 57 percent of survey respondents in group-lending villages and 50 percent in individual-lending villages borrowed from XacBank, compared to 6 percent within the comparison group. Around two-thirds of all borrowers in both group- and individual-lending villages reported using their first loans primarily to invest in a new or existing enterprise, usually by purchasing livestock, tools, or machinery, and used the remainder for household expenses.
Business activities: Women in group-lending villages were 9 percentage points more likely to own an enterprise from a 39 percent level of female entrepreneurship in the comparison group, and this impact was even larger for less educated women, who were 31 percentage points more likely to own an enterprise. Individual loans had no significant effect on women creating businesses of their own.
Household consumption: Access to group loans led to more and healthier food consumption, while individual loans had no effect. Food consumption increased by 14 percent in households in group-lending villages, and households were also significantly more likely to increase their consumption of milk, bread, and nonalcoholic beverages.
Repayment rates: Both individual and group loans resulted in similar repayment rates, providing evidence against the hypothesis that microcredit repayment rates are high primarily because of public weekly repayment meetings. Collateral was used to guarantee the vast majority of loans, which may also have contributed to their high repayment rates.