“What actually is a microfinance institution?” There are several ways to provide financial services to the poor. Revolving loan funds or multipurpose development programmes with a financing mechanism do that, but they cannot be considered institutions, lacking specialisation and a certain permanency. An institutional approach to microfinance also implies some form of organised professionalism, like membership in representative associations, adherence to a commonly accepted set of good practices (like the Smart Campaign) on client protection and compliance with rules that licence, supervise and regulate financial intermediaries. 1