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Best Practice Examples from MFIs

UGAFODE’s Complaints Handling: A Case Study

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This case study describes UGAFODE’s customer complaint handling system, and how this lines up with both Client Protection Principle 7, mechanisms for complaint resolution, and with the Universal Standards for Social Performance Management.
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Crezcamos’ Welcome Kit

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The objective in the development of this kit was part of a series of strategic activities that Crezcamos carried out to strengthen its practices in client protection. The kit was developed with the guidance of the Smart Campaign tool ‘Essential Documents for New Clients.’

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Resolving Client Complaints: The Example of Ujjivan, India

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This case study describes the successful implementation of Client Protection Principle #7 — Mechanisms for Complaint Resolution, by the Indian MFI Ujjivan Financial Services Pvt Ltd. All financial service providers should have in place a timely and responsive mechanism to resolve client problems and improve their products and services. 

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Maintaining Transparency Through Brochures: Ujjivan

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Ujjivan provides comprehensive brochures to prospective clients, such as marketing and training materials for Compulsory Group Trainings (CGT) which enable a client to take the information home, discuss it with family and friends and get their buy-in, or use it to compare loan products before making a decision about taking a new loan.

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Fostering Transparency at Banco Delta

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Banco Delta, a leading institution in Panama, used an active complaint resolution mechanism to improve its transparency practices, an area of improvement identified during a Smart Assessment conducted in October 2012.

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Defining and Monitoring Collection Practices at FODEMI

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FODEMI’s management, a microfinance institution based in the North Andean region of Ecuador, had become aware of institutional gaps through a Smart Assessment conducted in February 2013. The resultant effort to bridge the gaps involved collaboration across departments including Human Resources, Social Performance, Internal Audit, Operations, and the Credit Department.

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Writing a Code of Ethics and Social Corporate Responsibility at ASDIR

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ASDIR, a Guatemalan NGO, learned from its Smart Assessment that while staff practices adhered to the standards, they needed to document those practices for more uniformity and risk mitigation, namely through a Code of Ethics and Social Corporate Responsibility.

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The Full Feedback Cycle at Contactar

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After experiencing a period of rapid growth, Contactar realized it needed to be more aware of the needs and concerns of its ever-expanding client base. In January 2013, Contactar decided to upgrade its overall strategy to listen to client complaints and concerns after realizing that their suggestion box was clearly not enough.

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Ensuring the Security of Client Information at FUBODE

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While FUBODE already had basic security measures in some of its branches at the time the Smart Assessment was conducted, the results revealed the need to implement these in all of its agencies. As of today, all 18 branches – seven of which are located in urban areas and 11 in rural zones – have a specific room assigned within each branch to store clients’ physical documents.

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Two Unique Approaches in Designing Products Based on Customer Requirements: SEWA Bank and IFMR

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SEWA Bank, an urban co-operative bank, adopts a lifecycle approach wherein women’s financial requirements are mapped from birth to death and products are designed to meet their short, medium, and long-term needs. The KGFS model was designed by IFMR Rural Finance as a next generation financial products and services delivery model for unbanked communities.

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Use of Non-Financial Incentives to Manage Performance at Bandhan

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Bandhan has de-linked monthly salaries from performance and believes in a longer-term view of staff performance. It believes that immediate financial rewards might lead to inappropriate practices and hence provides long-term staff incentives through promotions and career progressions.

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Building a Culture of “Excellence” in Service at Ujivan

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From 2009, Ujjivan established a Service Quality department and developed a detailed grievance policy providing multiple channels for client complaints and a time-bound framework for complaints resolution.

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Well-Written Privacy Policy, Secure IT Systems, and Staff Trained to Protect Information at SKS and Equitas

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SKS has a written policy on sharing client information with external parties. It clearly categorizes types of information into “confidentiality critical” and “confidentiality sensitive” and lays down the process for handling each category. Equitas is the first MFI in India to have a core banking solution, TEMENOS – T24. This product is an extension of T24 Banking software, developed specifically for microfinance and the community banking sector.

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Smart Note: Designing Products based on Customer Requirements: Unique Approaches of SEWA Bank and IFMR (KGFS model), India

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This tool documents and presents two distinct, but successful approaches of SEWA Bank and IFMR in understanding client (member) requirements and designing products that meet their requirements. 

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SPTF Universal Standards Implementation Example (How Bandhan Trains and Evaluates Credit Staff)

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This case study demonstrates how Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. implements Essential Practices from Dimension 5 (Treat Employees Responsibly) of the Universal Standards for SPM. Other financial service providers can use this example to improve their own Human Resources policies and practices.

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Refinancing Policy – FUBODE

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One document that called our attention was FUBODE’s rescheduling and refinancing policy, one that many MFIs lack. FUBODE Kindly agreed to share their policy with the industry so as to foment best practices.  This document should be used as a starting point for any MFI who wants to improve their restructuring and rescheduling policies as per the Smart Campaign Principles.

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Nondiscrimination Policy of Fundación Paraguaya

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Fundación Paraguaya has shared its non-discrimination policy, which makes part of their Code of Ethics, with the Smart Campaign to be used as a tool for other institutions to emulate as they strive to implement non-discrimination policies of their own.

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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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Code of Conduct E-Learning Module (Grameen Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.)

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Grameen Financial Services Pvt. Ltd. (GFSPL) shared with the Campaign its Code of Conduct E-Learning Module, which is used to test employee knowledge of the institution’s Code of Conduct.  GFSPL’s code was created based on other codes endorsed by leading microfinance bodies in India as well as the guidelines offered by the Smart Campaign

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Illustrations and Activities for Training Loan Officers on Customers’ Rights and Responsibilities (Sahayata Micro Finance Pvt. Ltd.)

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In March 2011, the Smart Campaign issued a Call for Tools to the microfinance industry: “Training Staff for Ethical Behavior.” Sahayata Micro Finance Pvt. Ltd. (India) shared with the Campaign their illustrations and activities for training loan officers on customer rights and responsibilities.

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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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Loan Agreement for Small Business Clients (JSC MFO Crystal)

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JSC Microfinance Organization Crystal, Georgia shared its plain language loan contract with The Smart Campaign.  This contract is used with clients seeking small businesses credit. The contract is succinct, written in plain language, and uses very little jargon.

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Complaints-Analysis Spreadsheet (Fundacion Delamujer)

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Fundacion Delamujer has shared with the Campaign their complaints analysis spreadsheet for monitoring and classifying complaints. It is intended to divide complaints according to their importance, type, and branch. 

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Opportunity Bank Serbia: Loan Calculator

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Opportunity Bank Serbia shared with the Campaign their Loan Calculator Toolkit for determining the appropriate loan size for a potential client. Based heavily on information gathered from the national credit bureau, this Excel-based tool requires a thorough evaluation of the client’s business, family income, and existing debt.

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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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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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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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Complaints-Handling Brochure for Clients (Opportunity Bank)

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Opportunity Bank Serbia has shared with the Campaign a client brochure detailing exactly where and how to lodge a complaint. The brochure provides clients with a list of steps for introducing a complaint or suggestion through various means and next steps and what to do if the client is not happy with the outcome.

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KazMicroFinance: How to Assess Client Businesses

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KazMicroFinance shared with the Campaign their PowerPoint training for loan officers, “How to Assess Client Businesses.” This short presentation trains loan officers in how to thoroughly evaluate a potential client.

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Complaints-Handling Manual (Tamweelcom)

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Tamweelcom  in Jordan has provided the Campaign with their Complaints Handling Manual, which contains detailed scripts of telephone interactions with clients, a flow chart of the complaints process within the institution, as well as their internal forms to be filled out by both clients and staff when a complaint is lodged. 

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Complaints-Handling Manual (FONDESURCO)

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FONDESURCO in Peru shared their Complaints-Handling Manual with the Campaign. The manual carefully describes the complaints process and who is responsible for each piece.

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Security is the Key: Pocket Guide to Financial Security for Clients

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Finamerica provides a pocket-size brochure with tips about how to protect one’s security and prevent identity theft, robberies, and other possible threats to the privacy of their personal information.

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How to Talk to a Bank: A Brochure for Consumers

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This brochure by Procredit Bank explains to Serbian consumers how banking operations work and how to communicate with bankers. MFIs can create brochures similar to Procredit’s to ensure that their clients know how to ask about the terms and conditions of the services that are being marketed to them.

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Calculating Transparent Prices Tool from MicroFinance Transparency

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MicroFinance Transparency offers a basic tool to help microfinance institutions understand the factors that influence the “effective interest rate” or the APR. MFIs can use this tool to for calculating their own effective interest rates, thereby demonstrating transparent for the pricing of their loan products to anyone who asks.

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