Responsible Finance in Kosovo: Business Loans for Women

Restricting women’s access to loans, savings, insurance and other financial products doesn’t just reinforce gender inequality—it perpetuates poverty. A 2015 study by the McKinsey Global Institute found closing the gender gap could add as much as $28 trillion to annual GDP by 2025—roughly equal to the size of the US and Chinese economies combined.

FINCA Impact Finance recognizes the gender gap won’t close itself– it must be addressed by intentional action. That’s why on March 8, International Women’s Day,  the company’s Kosovo subsidiary launched its Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness.

An Innovative Financial Product for Women Entrepreneurs

The Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness is designed to help women in Kosovo build profitable and sustainable businesses. It offers favorable terms to borrowers—there are no disbursement fees and recipients are eligible for a grace period of up to 12 months.

There are other benefits as well. Financial literacy training is included in every loan package. The training sessions will be designed for the particular needs of clients. When a woman receives the loan, she’s offered the training and support she needs to expand her business.

FINCA Kosovo client Ramiej Pireci.

FINCA Kosovo, the country’s largest microfinance organization and a leader in responsible banking, is also providing a platform for women across the country to come together and share their experiences. It’s organizing events at the branch level and teaming with local women’s associations and non-governmental organizations to support their activities, promote their products and provide trainings in various fields.

The Loan for Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Agribusiness is promoting women’s economic empowerment, something especially needed in Kosovo. According to the World Bank, only 36.3% of adult women in Kosovo currently have a bank account.

The Business Case for Business Loans for Women

While business loans for women entrepreneurs have a social benefit, they also bolster FINCA Impact Finance’s financial sustainability. Research shows women tend to be responsible borrowers, diligent savers and competent managers. Launching this loan will allow the company to expand its client base while improving the quality of its portfolio.

Of the roughly 2 billion people around the world who still lack access to financial services, the majority are women. FINCA has been committed to addressing gender imbalances in financial inclusion since its founding. Women make up more than 53% of FINCA Impact Finance’s customer base—accessing responsible financial services such as loans, savings, insurance and mobile banking products.

Access alone can’t close the global gender gap, however. Intentional, targeted action is necessary to ensure new technologies and financial products are directed to addressing inequities in financial inclusion.