Improving Microfinance Together

October, 2011

A Message from the President and CEO:
FINCA’s Leadership Role in Putting Clients First!


Since its very beginnings, FINCA has taken a leadership stance on making sure that our clients’ best interests are at the forefront of every decision we make about the financial services we provide. We have been a standard bearer in the industry, and taken the lead in helping establish principles for the protection of microfinance clients, as well as pioneering client assessment methodologies to determine the progress our clients’ make in growing their businesses and improving their socio-economic well-being.

I want to take this opportunity to share with you a few examples of FINCA’s leadership in putting clients first.

FINCA continues to be at the forefront of developing industry-wide client protections principles to ensure that all microfinance institutions (MFIs) worldwide do business in a socially responsible manner that puts clients’ best interests at the forefront. To this end, FINCA was a founding member of an industry coalition that developed The Smart Campaign. Endorsed by 2,000 global MFIs, support organizations, investors and individuals, the campaign is an unprecedented effort to make client protection part of the DNA of microfinance. These pro-client codes of conduct and practices include the following principles: appropriate product design and delivery, avoidance of over-indebtedness, transparent and responsible pricing, appropriate collections practices, ethical staff behavior, mechanisms for redress of grievances, and privacy of client data. Underscoring FINCA’s commitment, I serve as a founding member of the Smart Campaign Steering Committee.

FINCA also takes the affect our products and services have on client well being seriously, and stands out among microfinance organizations in its commitment to social performance at all levels of operations. The Board of Directors has issued two directives to ensure our clients’ well being is first and foremost. The first mandates that we measure social performance on a biannual basis across the entire FINCA network. FINCA was the first international microfinance network to develop a rigorous client assessment tool that helps us evaluate improvements in our clients’ standard of living, and provides information about the need for new products, as well as satisfaction with existing ones. The second directive is the establishment of a Social Performance Audit Committee to ensure that FINCA is monitoring social performance with the same zeal and precision that we monitor financial performance.

FINCA has recently taken another leadership role by helping to establish the Microfinance CEO Working Group (MCWG), whose purpose is to enable the microfinance industry to achieve its full potential of bringing financial and related services to those who have traditionally been excluded. I am serving as a Co-Chair with Mary Ellen Iskendarian of Women’s World Banking. Other U.S.-based microfinance organizations involved in this initiative include ACCION International, Freedom from Hunger, Grameen Foundation, Mercy Corps, Opportunity International, ProMujer and World Vision.

The MCWG’s initial commitment is to promote and support three initiatives already underway in the industry: The Smart Campaign; MicroFinance Transparency, an organization that promotes transparent pricing in the microfinance industry; and The Social Performance Task Force, a participatory effort of hundreds of industry stakeholders developing common tools for measuring social performance and mission fulfillment.

FINCA is committed to implementing these initiatives across our network.

If I can answer any questions about how FINCA and the microfinance industry are working to ensure that clients’ rights are respected and their needs remain a consistent priority in the way we do business, please contact me at info@finca.org.

Sincerely,


Rupert W. Scofield

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