Accepted 3rd April, 2017.
The study was carried out to assess the effects of membership homogeneity on the design and performance of formal agricultural micro-credit finance groups in Delta state, Nigeria. Specifically, the study describe the socio-economic characteristics of group officials, examine membership homogeneity and group design elements of the micro credit groups and determine the effects of homogeneity variables on the amount of credit received by the groups. Sources of data were primary and secondary, structured questionnaires were used to interview respondents to generate primary data, while secondary data were sourced from relevant publications. Purposive and multi-stage random sampling techniques were adopted for the study. The tools used for data analysis included percentages, frequency distribution, mean and the multiple regression analysis. The result showed that agricultural micro credit groups were homogenous in certain membership socio-economic characteristics but heterogeneous in some others. The result of the regression analysis revealed that amount of credit received by micro credit groups were significantly affected by membership size, length of stay in group, proportion of credit repaid, amount of savings made, interest charged, age, household income, educational level, household size, distance, gender and ethnicity. Based on the findings, it was recommended that micro credit groups should be relatively homogenous in both socio-economic characteristics to improve their performance for sustainable financial inclusion.
Keywords: Membership, Homogeneity, Design, Formal, Micro Credit, Finance groups.