Title: The impact of economic cyclicality on financial risks: evidence of Islamic microfinance institutions

Authors: Nur Nabilah Mohamed; Ruhaini Muda; Salwana Hassan; Nordin Abu Bakar

Addresses: Arshad Ayub Graduate Business School, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor, Malaysia ' Faculty of Business and Management, Accounting Research Institute, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor, Malaysia ' Faculty of Business and Management, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor, Malaysia ' Faculty of Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Selangor, Malaysia

Abstract: Loan portfolio is the largest asset component and a source of risk that a microfinance institution needs to treat carefully. The quality of the loan portfolio is very crucial as the loans are typically not backed by any physical collateral. Having dual roles of achieving social and financial objectives, lenders require the microfinance institutions to have long-term financial sustainability. The study aims to gauge whether financial risks of Islamic and conventional microfinance institutions are pro-cyclical to economic conditions. The study utilises the dataset of 39 microfinance institutions for Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan from 2007 to 2013. Findings indicate that financial risks are pro-cyclical with economic conditions for both Islamic and conventional banking institutions. However, Islamic microfinance institutions are exposed to a higher financial risk during an economic downturn. This implies that Islamic microfinance institutions should improve the quality of their portfolio to preserve sustainability and resilience.

Keywords: Islamic microfinance institutions; financial risks; default risk; economic cyclicality.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBEM.2021.114405

International Journal of Business and Emerging Markets, 2021 Vol.13 No.2, pp.159 - 172

Received: 30 Sep 2019
Accepted: 25 May 2020

Published online: 20 Apr 2021 *

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