Journal of Microfinance / ESR Review


The Community Savings Funds (CSFs) promoted by the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico seek to provide marginalized community groups with a simple mechanism that allows them to save and administer their own funds securely, efficiently, and profitably, according to their own needs and priorities. Specially trained promoters help set up CSFs for a period of one year—using a standardized Toolkit—after which they are expected to work autonomously. There are 540 CSFs in 12 states with over 12,800 members and savings totaling 4.45 million pesos (US 5445,000). This paper describes the characteristics of the CSF model and the results to date. It discusses implementation problems and issues of sustainability and growth in light of the new regulatory environment. It also debates the viability and desirability of autonomous savings and credit groups at the community level and the advantages and disadvantages of their inclusion into the formal financial sector.


Gabriel Zapata is the Director of Promotion and Financial Organizations for the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico and the Coordinator of the Rural Microfinance Technical Assistance Program and the Community Savings Funds Project.



Journal Title

Journal of Microfinance

Issue and Volume