JAKARTA/SINGAPORE Early one August morning, before the heat became unbearable, several dozen people gathered in a courtyard in the Indonesian village of Kasaman, not far from Jakarta. They were there to repay debts -- and simply to be seen.
"Everyone, please check the details of your contracts." Seated before the crowd of mostly women, the staff of BTPN Syariah shouted instructions. The Islamic bank hosts similar meetings across the country: Residents who take out small loans under Shariah-compliant microfinance arrangements gather every two weeks to make payments in front of their neighbors.