FINCA Provided Responsible Finance to 27% More People in 2017
2017 was a turnaround year for FINCA Impact Finance. The company returned to profitability while launching new initiatives in client protection, Fintech, mobile banking and data analytics, among others.
In 2017, FINCA Impact Finance met its goal of increasing access to responsible financial services across our network of 20 subsidiaries. We increased our customer base by 27% year-on-year, and while there is still work to be done in closing the remaining gaps in financial inclusion, real progress has been achieved. We’re now reaching more than two million people with credit, savings accounts, money transfers, insurance and a range of other financial services. In the process, we earned a total net income of $10.9 million, according to our 2017 Annual Report.
We were able to improve our products and services by embracing digital technologies. That included launching Fintech innovations such as mobile payments and savings products, implementing more sophisticated consumer protection mechanisms to prevent over-indebtedness and using data analytics to assess creditworthiness.
Highlights from the 2017 Annual Report:
Financiera FINCA Nicaragua Receives Smart Certification for Client Protection
In July, FINCA’s subsidiary in Nicaragua received certification from the Smart Campaign after a rigorous independent review process found it has consistently upheld the highest client protection standards while providing financial products and services. Financiera FINCA Nicaragua joined FINCA Impact Finance subsidiaries in Georgia, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan and Pakistan in receiving Smart Certification for its ongoing commitment to client protection.
FINCA Launches Pakistan’s First-Ever Free Mobile E-Wallet
In August, FINCA’s subsidiary in Pakistan rolled out SimSim, a free-to-use mobile e-wallet in Pakistan. SimSim is making responsible financial services easier to access in Pakistan by allowing users to go completely digital. Anyone with the app can make and receive payments, pay bills, transfer funds, top up their mobile balance and access a range of other services—without ever handling cash or setting foot in a brick-and-mortar bank branch.
Now, less than one year since its launch, the Fintech innovation already has more than 185,000 users—equal to more than 25% of FINCA Pakistan’s total customer base.
You can watch our video about SimSim here:
FINCA Rolls Out Mobile Savings Product in Tanzania
Just a month later, in September, FINCA’s subsidiary in Tanzania launched HaloYako, a first-of-its kind mobile savings product. HaloYako is accessible via feature phone. FINCA customers can open an account within minutes and earn free mobile airtime as they reach savings targets, adding an additional incentive to save.
More than 100,000 people used HaloYako during the first six months after its launch in 2017, and it’s just one example of how FINCA is using Fintech innovation to better serve its customers.
FINCA Afghanistan Implements Biometric Identification
As part of its efforts to continually improve client protection practices, FINCA Afghanistan launched biometric identification in all 22 branches across the country. Biometrics make banking both safer and easier—loan officers can verify clients’ identities remotely, removing the need to travel hours to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch.
Biometrics can also help prevent fraud, and is another example of how FINCA Impact Finance is using tech innovation to deliver financial services in ways that are both more convenient and effective.
FINCA Jordan Becomes the Country’s First Fully-Licensed Microfinance Organization
In December, FINCA Jordan became the first microfinance institution in the country to be fully-licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Jordan. The company now goes by name FINCA Microfinance Jordan and continues to serve low-income clients in Jordan, especially women, with impactful and responsible financial services.
There Are Still Barriers to Break Down
But while 2017 was a successful for year for FINCA Impact Finance, there is always new ground to cover in achieving financial inclusion that is responsible, sustainable and gender-equitable. That’s why we’re focusing our efforts on promoting saving and financial education, expanding women’s economic empowerment and ensuring that financial inclusion doesn’t result in over-indebtedness.
As FINCA Impact Finance President & CEO Andrée Simon said in a recent interview:
“We need to figure out how to increase financial inclusion in tandem with financial education and support, or else we will risk ending up with situations like we have in developed countries – where we may have 100% inclusion, but vast numbers of people in debt and in poor financial health. We have a chance to get this right by being more intentional.”
You can read the full 2017 Annual Report here.