follow @mfheretic

Cambridge Journal of Economics, September 2013

"The losers in this scheme, according to Sinclair, are the poor people who pay excessive interest rates—with all the imaginable effects, from business failure to overindebtedness and worsened poverty—as well as and the original investors and donors, who are duped." - Jayati Ghosh, Professor of Economics, Jawaharlal Nehru University

Holistic Development Blog

"In a very impressive style of writing, the book captures the exploitation of the poor in the name of microfinance and ground reality of impact they make on the life of the poor people" - Ramesh Sivashan

Book Review R&J

"I doubt that any practitioner or student will read this book without self or company-wide reflection as to whether one is implicated in a similar kind of hypocrisy or disconnect between image and reality" - Ryan and Justine

From Wall Street to microfinance: How corruption is seeping into the financial sector

"One whistleblower’s extensive knowledge of microfinance has effectively protected him against potential retaliation — even after publication of his book exposing scandals in the industry." - Whitney Evans

Impacto positivo del microcrédito o "el vaso medio lleno"

"[Hugh Sinclair] es respetuoso del trabajo de sus colegas, pero no se priva de deslizar críticas y llamar la atención sobre aquellos aspectos ambivalentes, algo 'maquillados' del estudio." - mundo microfinanzas

Six Degrees of Omidyar

"Hugh Sinclair, who spent several years working for microfinance institutions, compellingly described his disillusionment and anger at the way the industry was going in his book Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic. Sinclair claims that, as money flooded into the microfinance institutions, they became like the loan sharks they replaced." - Tom Slee

Falsche Versprechen (False Promises, in German)

"Le Monde diplomatique Nr. 10208 vom 13.9.2013, 296 Zeilen, Paul Lagneau-Ymonet / Philip Mader " - Le Monde diplomatique

The sorry record of microcredit laid bare by an industry veteran

"Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic is an important book that should be must reading for anyone involved in international development." - Mal Warwick

Microfinance India - State of the Sector Report 2012

"Just finished reading ‘Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic’ by Hugh Sinclair. A sordid saga, though exaggerated at places, of a good intent that went haywire. This apparently is a new genre of literature in the sector that is starting to hit the stands." - Vipin Sharma, CEO ACCESS Development Services (p. xiii)

Book Review by Sachin Purswani

"This book is an eye opener for people who hail Microfinance as poverty healing tool." - Sachin Purswani

Core Values of Microfinance under Scrutiny: Back to Basics?

"[Hugh] demonstrates that these organizations and the leading people behind them are irresponsible, profit and power seeking and not in the least socially and developmentally responsible." - Reinhard H. Schmidt, KfW Financial Sector Development Symposium

Philanthropy Roundtable - Strengthening our Free Society

"Whatever one makes of this fiery polemic, it is delivered with sardonic British wit and world-weary anecdotes that make for lively reading" - Mithun Selvaratnam, Philanthropy Roundtable

Microfinance: A developmental dilemma

"Hugh Sinclair... provides a genuine spectrum of analysis of what the purposes of microfinance is, what positive outcomes it leads to, and what can be done to make it work better." - Charitha Ratwatte, Daily FT

Making over the multi-billion microfinance industry

"Microfinance went through the same mistakes as banks. It became a business and it was fashionable, so everyone went into it. Now, there’s a lot of criticism against them." - Neil Parmar, Arabian

Development Matters review

"In an impressive style of writing filled with wits and sarcasm Sinclair shares about Microfinance institutions, microfinance funds, rating agencies and peer to peer microfinance institutions. He however does not find fault with the concept, but with the way in which it is misused by the greedy MFIs." - Monthly Development Update from DHAN Collective

Hatem Mahbouli of the Dutch Development Bank

"Being myself in the Hague, and working at the Dutch development bank, I can tell you that [the book] created some waves and generated some serious discussions around here (and hence my interest in reading it in the first place)" - Hatem Mahbouli

Akbar's Blog

"Hugh Sinclair explains it much better in his book. He worked in various microfinance firms for about 10+ years and saw how the reality mismatches with the fantasy story that everyone is weaving around him." - Akbar Pasha (blog)

Five Talents and Child Protection

"The book is an easy read and makes some fair points about bad practices in some parts of the microfinance sector and the largely unsubstantiated claims of microfinance around poverty alleviation. In doing so it serves to highlight the best practices and things to watch." - Tom Sanderson, UK Director, Five Talents

How to Support Good Microfinance

In his book, Englishman Hugh Sinclair reveals the abuses he uncovered as an advisor to financial institutions around the world. At the same time, he says microfinance can work. Sinclair tells stories about moving experiences with several ethical and effective organizations and analyzes what makes them different. The Intelligent Optimist

Book Review on

"This book is an eye opener for people who hail Microfinance as poverty healing tool.  They will be surprised to see how microfinance continues to force children to drop out of school, women into prostitution and men to commit suicides." - Book Review

The Terry Project (University of British Colombia): Microfinance, Lending a Hand to the Poor?

"Micro-finance promised to lift the poorest out of their poverty, and turn a profit while doing it. But in 2010, micro-finance millionaires fuelled a bubble that caused a spate of suicides in the Indian province of Andra Pradesh. Is micro-finance a cynical ploy to exploit the poor, or an genuine effort to help?" - Terry Project

The Bengal Post

"The book makes for an interesting read on two counts. First is the account of Hugh's thrilling experiences in uncovering the corruption and fraud within the microfinance industry. In parts, it reads almost like a classic who-dunnit! Secondly, and more importantly, the book makes us take a hard look at our own policies as well as at other global policies that aim to alleviate poverty in developing countries like India. While they have largely fallen short of the mark, despite decades of trying, the points raised in this book might be a good start for identifying some of the reasons for failure." - Aloke Ghoshal

Donor Committee for Enterprise Development

"The author outlines how even when correct information was provided, large, reputable funds and investors continued to invest in the Nigerian MFI. He argues that for investors, returns on investment were more important than impacts on poverty, while the rapid growth in investment in the sector meant MFIs were allowed and encouraged to grow." - Ashley Aarons

Book Review by Kate Hallam

"I therefore believe Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic is an important book to read for anyone not only involved in microfinance but also for all who seek an end to global poverty and injustice." - Kate Hallam

Best Books of the Year 2012

"Sinclair convinced me that the belief that microcredit is a wonderful thing for poor people is one of the big delusions of our time." - Seth's Blog

Deadly Debt: Microfinance Suicides

"Whether or not we agree that microfinance could provide a path for ending poverty (if you can’t tell, I have my strong doubts!), when people are losing their lives over debt, shouldn’t it at least give us pause about the approach?" - Buddhist Peace Fellowship

El Economista

"Un reciente libro Confesiones de un herético de las microfinanzas, de Hugh Sinclair, ha levantado la sospecha sobre estas instituciones microfinancieras, como lo ha hecho reiteradamente Muhammad Yunus, inspirador del movimiento de las microfinanzas." - Alfonso Castillo

Fox Social Entrepreneurship

"Hugh argues that the challenge is one of transparency. Like the subprime lending crisis, Hugh believes that predatory practices are unavoidable where the motivations of the lenders aren’t aligned with the motivations of the lendees" - Kyle Dumont

Applied Philosophy

"Hugh Sinclair makes a perfect case why Micro-credit does not work neither economically nor ethically, I only wish he had realised that in less than ten years" - Applied Philosophy

The Myths of Microfinance

"Examining the dark side of a feel-good industry" - Failure Magazine

KRO-Reporter (documentary)

"Princess Maxima's Microfinance" - KRO-Reporter (Dutch and English), English transcript here, additional footage in English here


"The book must be read for not only for the global examples it cites and the lessons to be drawn from them, but also for the advice it offers on how to bring the sector back on the rails." - E. Kumar Sharma

Dutch TV critiques dirty microfinance deals

"a kind of anti-fairytale book about how the big bad wolves ran off with princess Máxima's ideals" - microDINERO

Interview with governance across borders

“Only one thing is extremely profitable for microfinance institutions and their investors: credit… There’s been very little focus on savings.”  Paul Lagneau-Ymonet & Phil Mader

Las microfinanzas bajo la lupa

Articulo escrito por Clara Serra Riascos, miembro de la junta directiva, WWB Colombia - La Republica

Learning from a Heretic

"It is time for us to set high standards, hold ourselves accountable for meeting them, and be utterly transparent about who does and who does not stand up to scrutiny. And we can thank our heretical friend Hugh for providing further motivation for finishing the work that will make this happen." - Larry Reed, director,  MicroCredit Summit Campaign

Texas Public Radio

"Sinclair says it is not fair to paint all microfinance programs with the same brush, but he wants potential investors to be aware of abuses. His advice is for investors to ask questions and make sure the company you are dealing with is engaging in ethical practices." - Some Books Considered, TPR

Durham Business School Alumni News

"One feels proud that a fellow Durham Business School graduate has done such ground breaking work, which can truly help the global microfinance sector introspect on its weaknesses and correct its mistakes" - Sahil Malik (MBA, DBS 2009-10, pages 24-25)

"It seems Hugh Sinclair, the Microfinance Heretic, is reverberating everywhere, from the East to the West, from South Korea to Venice." -

20+ reviews on Amazon, positive and critical -

Various reviews and ratings - Goodreads


Hosted by Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project - C-Span


"Theory vs. Practice: Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic" - book review

The New Indian Express

"Confessions of a Microfinance Heretic takes the reader beyond the superficial layer of glossy altruism and into the dark underbelly of the vaunted business of poverty-reduction" - Hemant Sreeraman


"The Dark Side of Microfinance: An Industry Where the Poor Play 'Cameo Roles' " - Wharton


"The sorry record of microcredit laid bare by an industry veteran" - Mal Warwick


- For book inquieries, contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

- For media inquieries, contact:

Cynthia Shannon

Publicity Manager, Berrett- Koheler Publishers

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.