(MY.croh.cred.it) n. A loan program that offers small, short-term loans to help people become self-employed. Also: micro-credit, micro credit.

Example Citation:
Microcredit got its start in Bangladesh in 1976, when Muhammad Yunus, an economics professor, gave a $27 loan to a small group of women in a local village without demanding collateral. The women defied expectations by repaying the loan, developing a sustainable business, starting savings accounts, and helping this simple economic model expand to millions of borrowers worldwide.
—Renee Loth, "Women Entrepreneurs," The Boston Globe, July 2, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Foreigners promoting development in their homelands expressed support Monday for legislation that would provide small loans up to about $300 for poor people working to improve their lot. . . . The so-called "micro-credit" legislation, which is backed by a slew of private development agencies, would not increase the money under the control of the Agency for International Development.
—"Foreigners Express Support for Bills Providing Small Loans to Poor People," The Associated Press, September 14, 1987

The example citation mentions that the microcredit idea begans in the 1970s. However, the west didn't pick up on it until well into the 80s, as shown by the earliest citation.

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