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Smart Note: Supporting Members to Adopt Client Protection at Azerbaijan Microfinance Association (AMFA)

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AMFA shared with the Smart Campaign why client protection is a priority for the association, and how they encourage strong client protection practices in the Azerbaijani microfinance industry. Their client protection initiatives can serve as a good practice example to other networks and associations.

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Smart Microinsurance: An Overview for Microfinance Institutions on Incorporating Client Protection Practices into Microinsurance

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The Smart Campaign and the Microinsurance Network present “Smart Microinsurance”—a tool designed specifically for microfinance institutions (MFIs) that serve as intermediaries, offering microinsurance products provided by an external insurance company.

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Smart Note: Treating Clients with Respect at Fundación Mundo Mujer Popayán

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This Smart Note describes how Fundación Mundo Mujer Popayán developed a stronger pro-client attitude. They developed a set of complementary policies, that, unlike previous material, use specific problem situations to address potential weaknesses in client protection practices.

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Smart Note: Responding to a Crisis at FUNDESER

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The Smart Note, “Responding to a Crisis at Fundeser” describes how the MFI dealt with the aftermath of both the worldwide credit crisis and the internal No Pay Movement (Movimiento No Pago). It explains how the institution overhauled its Human Resource department in an effort to steer the institution to recovery.

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Smart Note: Hiring Staff with Disabilities at AccessBank, Azerbaijan

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This Smart Note focuses on the efforts of AccessBank Azerbaijan to practice non-discrimination among employees through deliberate efforts to hire people with disabilities. Additionally, the Smart Note provides a testimonial from one of AccessBank’s employees about his experience as a person with disabilities working as a cashier at the MFI.

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Over-indebtedness of Microborrowers in Ghana

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To give guidance on how to live up to the standard of responsible finance, the Smart Campaign developed the Client Protection Principles with widespread industry participation. Prevention of over-indebtedness is one of these principles. However, commitment is not sufficient to put a principle into practice. This report makes an important contribution to deepening knowledge on this elusive topic.

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Essential Documents for New Clients

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The “Essential Documents for New Clients” refers to the set of documents that help new clients understand their full financial obligations, what they can expect from the institution, and what to do if they experience problems along the way.  

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Code of Conduct for Collections and Collections Practices for Group Loans at Swadhaar FinServe Pvt. Ltd.

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Swadhaar FinServe Pvt. Ltd. shared their Code of Conduct for Collections and their Collections Practices for Group Loans, both of which provide collections staff with specific guidelines and procedures for treating clients with dignity. The Smart Campaign encourages other institutions to review this good practice.

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Smart Note: Ethical Staff Behavior at Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI)

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ASKI implements their written “Code of Conduct and Discipline” through staff training, staff performance reviews, client satisfaction surveys, and the ASKI Values Protocol—an established process for addressing staff violations of the code. In addition, clients can provide instant feedback on staff behavior.

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Transparency in Promotions and Sales: A Checklist for Financial Service Providers

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This tool focuses on the first point of contact with the client—the initial “sales pitch.” Financial service providers can use this tool to improve transparency when promoting and selling credit and savings products.  The tool contains five “good practice” checklists.

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Collections Guidelines for Financial Service Providers

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This tool is a checklist for institutions to assess their collections policies and practices, with the goal of strengthening client protection during the collections process. The tool addresses collections policies, practices, manuals, and training of field staff. 

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Avoidance of Over-indebtedness: Guidelines for Financial and Non-financial Evaluation

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This tool is for financial service providers that want to incorporate good client protection practices into their evaluation processes for individual loan clients. Specifically, the tool provides guidelines for determining a loan applicant’s capacity and willingness to repay a loan.

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Smart Savings: Client Protection in the Savings Process

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This guide is designed to help MFIs, banks, NGOs, and other types of financial institutions identify and integrate good client protection practices in the savings process at every point of interaction with the client.

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Smart Lending: Client Protection in the Group Lending Process

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This guide is designed to help MFIs incorporate good client protection practices into their group lending policies and operations. The tool is applicable to a wide range of credit methodologies and can be adapted for use by various forms of group lending including village banking methodology and “group of groups” methodology.

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Loan Contract Summary Handout (Mibanco)

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Mibanco also provides clients with a loan contract summary so that clients can easily and efficiently understand the most pertinent points of their full loan contracts. Mibanco uses this tool to verbally review the contract highlights, including the loan information, insurance costs/benefits, early repayment fees, and obligations of the guarantors.

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Smart Note: Customized IT at Caja Morelia safeguards client data

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Upon transforming to a regulated financial services provider, Caja Morelia needed to meet federal data management and reporting requirements. Faced with these new technology needs, Caja invested in a data management system and supporting processes to provide superior data security.

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Banco Solidario: Loan Officer Training Manual

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Banco Solidario shared with the Campaign their Loan Officer Manual, which includes a Code of Ethics for credit staff and procedures for financial and non-financial evaluation. The Code of Ethics gives loan officers full responsibility for client capacity analysis, and the manual guides loan officers thorough the analysis process.

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Fonkoze: Guide for Credit Agents — Evaluating Clients for Fonkoze’s Post-Disaster Recovery Program

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Fonkoze shared with the Campaign their “Guide for Credit Agents: Evaluating Clients for Fonkoze’s Post-Disaster Recovery Program,” which guides credit agents in disbursing credit in a post-disaster environment—a time when microfinance clients are particularly vulnerable to over-indebtedness.

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Microfund for Women: Client Business Evaluation Toolkit

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Microfund for Women shared with the Campaign their toolkit for assessing the repayment capacity of individual borrowers. Consisting of a total of four forms—including the loan application—this toolkit provides credit staff a complete profile of the health of the potential client’s business, and their capacity to take on debt. 

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Smart Lending: Client Protection in the Individual Loan Process

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This guide is designed to help microfinance institutions with individual lending operations integrate good client protection practices at the intersection points throughout the credit process. At each point in the individual lending process, the guidelines explain how MFI staff should incorporate client protection into policies and operations.

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Smart Note: Collections with Dignity at FinComún

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In 2008, FinComún, a regulated MFI in Mexico, took action to combat rising default rates through the implementation of a new collections philosophy. The institution’s new Collections with Dignity philosophy was designed to support clients facing the global financial crisis and improve both collections rates and portfolio quality.

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