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Czura, Kristina; Englmaier, Florian; Ho, Hoa; Spantig, Lisa (23. March 2022): Microfinance Loan Officers Before and During Covid-19: Evidence from India. Collaborative Research Center Transregio 190, Discussion Paper No. 322


The Microfinance industry has been severely affected by Covid-19. We provide detailed insights into how loan officers, the key personnel linking the lender to its borrowers, are affected in their performance and adapt their work to the pandemic. We use administrative records of an Indian Microfinance Institution and detailed panel survey data on performance, performed tasks, and work organization to document how the work environment became more challenging during the pandemic. Loan officers operate in a setting where work from home is hard to implement due to the nature of the tasks and technological constraints. The usual performance indicators appear to be mainly driven by external factors such as the nation-wide debt moratorium. Loan officers worked similar hours, but engaged less in planning activities and completed fewer of the usual tasks. Work perceptions and mental health of loan officers reflect these changes, and perceived stress was particularly high during the period of the debt moratorium.