Rating Tools

There are three main tools that rate an MFI’s social performance: the Microfinance Institutional Rating, the Social Rating and the Social Performance & Impact Ratings (SPIR). 

Microfinance Institutional Ratings and Social Ratings

The four specialized microfinance rating agencies – M-CRIL, Microfinanza Rating, MicroRate and Planet Rating – provide the Microfinance Institutional Rating and the Social Rating.

Microfinance Institutional Rating (MIR). Microfinance Institutional Ratings are conducted by external assessors and provide an opinion on the long-term viability and creditworthiness of an MFI. The evaluation includes analysis of an MFIs “responsible practices,” which assess an institution’s client protection practices, responsible performance and mission alignment with these goals. The MIR also includes analysis of governance, financial profile, the microfinance environment and operational risks.

For more information on the MIR, including a general comparison of each agencies’ rating grades, please see the Rating Guide:

Social Rating. Social Ratings are conducted by an external organization and provide an objective opinion on an MFI’s degree of success in translating its mission into practice.  To reach that opinion, raters analyze an MFI’s country context, social performance management, client protection, depth of outreach, quality of services and outcomes.

For more information on Social Ratings, including a general comparison of each agencies’ rating grades, please see the Social Rating Guide:

The audiences for Social Ratings and MIRs are external.  The rater does not provide recommendations for improving practice, but reviews documents and assigns a rating based on its findings.  One important use for Social Ratings is to verify data that were self-reported to MIX Market.  A good rating may also attract interest from investors and donors. 

These four rating agencies are also part of the Rating Initiative, a program started by ADA to promote the establishment of a sustainable microfinance rating market. The Initiative’s activities have included co-funding ratings for MFIs and educating investors about the different rating products.

Social Performance & Impact Rating

Inclusion [Africa] provides the Social Performance & Impact Rating (SPIR), which analyzes the infrastructure and processes an MFI has in place to achieve its social objectives. Specifically, the SPIR assesses an institution’s social mission, strategy and leadership, customer relationship, measurement of social outcome/impact, human resources and environmental performance. 

The SPIR combines field evaluations with comprehensive scoring and monitoring of an MFI’s practices to provide a globally comparable assessment grade. Similar to the Social Rating and the MIR, the SPIR is meant for an external audience, and it can help investors make more informed socially-oriented decisions, as well as highlight an MFI’s strengths and limitations.

For more information on the SPIR, please visit: coming soon!