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PROMIFIN

Transforming the lives of the poorest in Central America by combining financial services with financial education


YEARS

2013

CLIENT DESCRIPTION

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation provided EUR 10 million funding for the PROMIFIN programme from August 2003 to July 2013. PROMOFIN's clients included 100 financial institutions, seven microfinance networks, five savings and credit unions, a credit union federation, three second-tier public financial institutions, two universities, a teachers credit union and radio and TV stations in Central America.

CLIENT'S OBJECTIVE

Promote access to financial services, financial and entrepreneurial education for rural and low-income people in Central America.

Results

BUSINESS RESULTS

Partner institutions gained 50,000 new clients, despite the microfinance crisis that affected Nicaragua which lead to significant decrease in private investor funding. Less than 2% of credit portfolio was rated at risk after using PROMIFIN group lending methodologies.

100,000 clients attended PROMIFINĀ“s financial education training and approximately 1,000,000 more people participated through radio, TV, and newspaper channels.

Numerous laws, regulations and government programmes related to microfinance institutions in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Bolivia were changed as a result of the programme.

SOCIAL & ENVIRONMENTAL OUTCOMES:

1 million more people in Nicaragua and Honduras have access to group savings and lending programs as a result of 20 financial institutions piloting new approaches.

The 100,000 lowest income clients who attended financial education classes increased their average savings from $0 to $40 USD per year, in contrast to $0 to $10 USD amongst people who did not attend the training.

The financial education programme is ongoing and self-sustaining due to continued broadcasting via TV and through financial education programmes implemented in schools as a result of a partnership with a teacher’s union.

Activities

Developed, adjusted and translated 15 instructional tools to improve the effectiveness, efficiency and outreach of PROMIFIN’s financial training.

Disseminated financial education and materials to clients, loan officers, and the broader public through training sessions and mass media channels like radio and television.

Advised 100 financial institutions (representing 1 million microfinance clients) and other partners in best practices for promoting savings, strategic and operational decision-making, revising policies and procedures, improving efficiencies and adopting good governance practices.

Played an advocacy role by developing relationships with regulatory bodies, lobbying for policies supportive of low-income populations and microfinance, and maintaining relationships with media contacts.

Assisted MFIs in incorporating financial education as part of their group saving and lending processes.

LEARNINGS

The PROMIFIN staff learned that simple, adaptable tools for teaching financial skills can be successfully applied in both low and high income populations, in rural or urban areas. The project also demonstrated that investments in education are worth every penny, contributing to clients’ greater financial stability and control over indebtedness. In addition, financial education provides significant opportunities for reaching new clients. PROMIFIN’s successes also prove that MFIs can succeed even in difficult environments if they have the right policies, procedures, products, adequate management controls, coaching, mentoring, and sound governance practices.