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.

Many low-income households in Bolivia, including microfinance clients, live in homes at times located on lots with precarious legal status and in vulnerable areas to natural disasters. According to a case study developed by FUBODE, over 60 percent of low-income dwellings lack property titles, 57 percent do not meet basic living conditions, and 75 percent are in need of extensions or renovations. FUBODE, a Cochabamba-based MFI is well aware of these trends and how they can affect clients. More than 50 percent of FUBODE´s clients decide to voluntarily turn in original sale and purchase agreements as part of their loan guarantee but also because they trust the organization will keep the documents safe. “Our clients, particularly the ones in rural areas see the institution as the best place to store hard-to-replace documents,” says Alex Huarachi, FUBODE´s operations manager.

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. Currently, every archive room in the 18 offices has placed smoke detectors, professional cameras, motion sensors, and fire-resistant lateral cabinets to store clients’ physical documents. The room restricts access to only one staff member per branch. Additionally, a robust security system was installed in all branches to secure client´s digital information by adding surveillance cameras and a panic button for each cashier as well as an alarm system monitored by a third party central-office. FUBODE has invested an average of USD $3,500 per branch to implement this comprehensive system.

FUBODE´s changes complement the archive policy which establishes the basic principle that client data should be kept secure. The policy currently speci#es the levels of access to IT systems, storage procedures, archiving details and overall security measures that each staff member should follow. However, the institution is well aware that implementing the security system in branches is only the first step. FUBODE´s objective is to update its policy and educate the rest of their staff about the new system which should be in line with the national regulatory requirements. Rosa Cárdenas, FUBODE´s Social Performance officer recalls, “We see this as an ongoing and time-consuming process but investing in a high-quality security system is worth it. It is an additional customer service pillar because it allows the institution to ensure the integrity of our client´s documents.”

This story was originally published in the Smart Campaign State of Practice Report Study of Client Protection in Latin America and the Caribbean.