Microfinance is a community based lending system which helps provide loans to people/communities that are normally considered high risk.
The success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has highlighted both the benefit and the potential success of community based lending programs.
These small loans given to these "high risk prospects" actually have the lowest default rates (less than 2%) and one of the major reasons for these low defaults is the sense of pride that the community members feel when they begin to repay their loan. It improves their standing in their community and benefits the community at large.
Maybe we can learn from these microfinance institutions and how they've taken advantage of the human need for community to create a successful financial programs for empowering the poor communities largely neglected by traditional banking.