News & Highlights What’s Happening

What’s Happening

In Their Own Voices: Microfinance Clients speak out about How They’re Treated

Smart Campaign’s New Research Examines, through Clients’ Own Words, Their Interactions with the Financial Service Providers Who Serve Them

Washington, D.C., February 18, 2016 – The Smart Campaign, a global movement to embed a set of client-protection principles into the fabric of the financial inclusion sector, today announced the release of ‘My Turn to Speak’ – intensive research across four countries that reveals, in clients’ own words, how they are treated by their financial service providers.

Realizing that clients’ actual experiences and opinions were critical but missing data in consumer-protection efforts, the Campaign commissioned Bankable Frontier Associates to survey thousands of low-income microfinance clients face-to-face in Benin, Georgia, Pakistan and Peru. The research captures, first-hand, clients’ interactions with the institutions that make their loans and keep their savings, and are therefore instrumental to their hopes and struggles.

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Smart Campaign Recognizes Five Indian Financial Institutions for Exceptional Standards of Client Care

Arohan, Grameen Koota, Janalakshmi, Sonata and Utkarsh Awarded Smart Certification at Inclusive Finance India Summit in New Delhi

New Delhi, December 8, 2015  — The Smart Campaign, a global movement to embed a set of client-protection principles into the fabric of the microfinance industry, today recognized five Indian financial institutions with Smart Certification, acknowledging their high standards of client care. The five are Arohan, Grameen Koota, Janalakshmi, Sonata and Utkarsh.

This is the third year in a row that the Campaign has recognized Smart-Certified Indian institutions at the annual Inclusive Finance India Summit in New Delhi.

The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Certification Program contains a core set of standards against which institutions are evaluated by independent, third-party evaluators. Smart Certification publicly recognizes those institutions providing financial services to low-income clients with a standard of care that upholds the microfinance industry’s seven Client Protection Principles. The Principles cover such critical practices as transparency, fair and respectful treatment, responsible pricing and prevention of over-indebtedness.

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ASKI Is First Financial Institution in Philippines to be Awarded Smart Certification

Manila/Washington, D.C., October 27, 2015  — The Smart Campaign, a global movement to embed a set of client-protection principles into the fabric of the microfinance industry, announced today that Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, or ASKI, is the first financial institution in the Philippines to be certified by the Smart Campaign.

Established in 1987 in central Luzon to serve and empower the poor through microenterprise development, ASKI today serves more than 136,000 clients through 72 branches and 7,794 solidarity groups in 234 cities and towns. The non-profit institution earned its Smart Certification in late July following a mission conducted by Microfinanza Rating, but is being publicly recognized today in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Financial Inclusion Summit 2015, in Manila.

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New Draft Client Protection Standards: We Want Your Feedback:

Washington, D.C., September 30, 2015  — Today, the Smart Campaign released for public comment new draft Client Protection Standards – which will be the basis for what we term Certification 2.0. The new standards streamline the previous Client Protection Standards, and reflect the evolving financial inclusion industry. They incorporate client risks pertaining to insurance, savings, and digital financial services. The standards operationalize where the financial inclusion industry sets the bar in terms of the minimum behaviors clients should expect from their financial service providers. Now open, the public comment period extends through November 30, 2015. We’d love your feedback!

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Borrow Wisely Campaign 2015: International financial education campaign will reach over 150 000 clients in 30 days

Warsaw, Poland, October 1, 2015 Today, the MFC is teaming up with 24 financial institutions to launch the second annual international Borrow Wisely Campaign. Over the next 30 days, field staff across 15 countries in Europe and Central Asia will educate thousands of existing and potential microfinance clients on how take on safe and responsible levels of debt.

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Consumer Protection Certified Financial Institutions Now Serve More Than 20 Million Low-income Clients

Washington, D.C., August 18, 2015 (Press Release) — The Smart Campaign, a global movement to embed a set of client-protection principles into the fabric of the microfinance industry, announced today that there are now more than 20 million low-income clients whose financial service provider has been certified as meeting the Campaign’s standards for consumer protection.

Since February 2015, the number of clients served by Smart-Certified financial institutions (FIs) has grown by 6 million, to a total of 21 million, with the certification of an additional 11 institutions. To date, 39 FIs, from 19 countries across Latin America to Africa and Asia, have achieved Smart Certification, including some of the world’s best-known institutions dedicated to serving the poor.

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Enda-Inter Arabe: first Microfinance Institution to be Smart Certified in MENA

Washington, D.C., United States, July 24, 2015 Last week, Enda Inter-Arabe, a Tunisian microfinance institution founded in 1990, became Smart Campaign Certified, the first institution in North Africa and the Middle East to demonstrate its commitment to client-protection. 

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Announcing Our Standard Partnership with B-Analytics

Washington, D.C., United States, July 20, 2015 – The Smart Campaign is excited to announce its partnership with B Analytics, a flexible data technology platform for measuring, benchmarking, and reporting on impact. B-Analytics is a platform with the largest dataset of private company impact data that allows investors to track and benchmark their portfolio’s impact performance against comprehensive, custom, and third-party metric sets. 

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First Smart Certification in the Philippines: ASKI

Washington, D.C., United States, August 13, 2015 July has been a momentous month for the Smart Campaign, among many things, the Smart Campaign has certified the first institution in the Philippines: Alalay Sa Kaunlaran Inc.-ASKI.

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Greece Debt Crisis: What Happens to Countries Who Default?

Washington, D.C., United States, July 2, 2015 – This past week Europe has been in a standstill over Greece’s debt crisis. We are all in the edge of our seats, wondering what the future holds for Greece. In the meantime ruminating on many unanswered questions: Is Greece defaulting on its debt? What does the country’s economic and political future look like if it exits the Eurozone? Or even worse, goes bankrupt?

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