In response to the needs of not only its clients, but the public, in general, FINCA Kyrgyzstan has taken the lead in developing a nationwide Financial Literacy Training initiative that combines theory with practical applications to ensure Kyrgyz citizens are better informed about managing their finances.
Kyrgyz women attended a local financial literacy training seminar sponsored by FINCA Kyrgyzstan
Margarita Cherikbaeva, FINCA Kyrgyzstan’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “The goal of our financial literacy project is to help all Kyrgyz citizens develop reasonable attitudes about not only the borrowing process, but the basics of managing day-to-day money issues as well as those that come along with accumulating funds and assets, which many people are experiencing for the first time.”
Ms. Cherikbaeva explained that, after the country gained independence, new types of financial products and services became available; things like mortgages, insurance products and loans, and most people were not prepared to manage these types of funds. Organizations like FINCA, as well as the Kyrgyz government, felt the need to develop programs to guide people through this new arena.
Villagers who attend the training sessions, receive information about decision making as it pertains to borrowing, based on the family budget; about the risks associated with commercial as well as personal lending; what to look for when entering into a loan agreement; how to choose the best repayment schedule; how to compare interest rates; the methods used to determine interest accrual; and how to take into account all fees and costs, as well as the likelihood of penalties.
FINCA Kyrgyzstan’s goal is to conduct 200 training sessions throughout its 22-branch network.
FINCA Kyrgyzstan was founded in 1995 and, today, serves more than 120,000 clients, predominantly in rural areas, making it one our largest subsidiaries. The subsidiary manages a portfolio of more than $83 million; its average loan size is $1,000 with client repayment rates at 99.6 percent. Nearly 1,250 local men and women are employed by FINCA Kyrgyzstan, and provide products and services to that include Solidarity (Small Group) Loans, Individual Loans, Group and Individual Agriculture Loans, and Local Currency Loans.