Microfinance started as a regionally practised idea in the Southern hemisphere that turned out to become a major development movement replicated on five continents. Its idea stems from a simple but crucial question: Why do poor people often stay poor? As microfinance is perceived to help people to become self-supporting, it was only a matter of time that it would also gain prominence in industrialised countries. Yet, whereas microfinance institutions in developing countries often provide a broad range of financial services, organisations in Western Europe focus on microlending. How can this be explained? What constitutes differences between the models? Which variables determine differences of microlending institutions (MLIs) on a national European level? The book analyses the concept of microlending in three Western European countries – France, Spain and Germany – by assessing relevant conditions determining the performance of MLIs based on the hypothesis that economic activity depends on entrepreneurial culture, the social-political context and a regulated framework to co-determine economic success. It addresses representatives of lobby groups, NGOs and political economist.