Second Edition of # VoluntariosAfi

Once again, # VoluntariosAfi heads to Nicaragua and Peru to put your two cents in the development and institutional strengthening of local microfinance institutions .

This time Ana , Carmen , Paul Meredith and devote their vacation to work selflessly and passionately – as did three of them and the previous year – in areas of financial expertise.


The two entities that host this year we are immersed in an interesting process of upgrading that move the scope not regulated environment to a more complex (and safe) for the development of its microfinance activity.

131In the case of Peru , Carmen and Meredith started volunteering in July traveling to Arequipa where the headquarters of FONDESURCO , entity obtained its license to operate as Edpyme is (previously an NGO) by the Superintendency of Banks and Insurance of Peru a few months ago . FONDESURCO is a mainly rural area institution that has made ​​a firm decision to move forward on the path of formalization and with which we are very committed .

A travel Managua where Ana and Pablo cooperate during the month of August with our beloved MiCrédito , microfinance NGOs with which they had an opportunity to work as volunteers last summer. Continue with tasks designed to assist the entity in the compliance process in which it is immersed , since last year at this time they saw the light of new legislation in the country for the microfinance industry . Also jointly seek to expand the portfolio of financial products and services to current and potential customers. The focus this year we will put on two broad issues and knowledge of travel professionals Afi : insurance and consumer protection .

As I did in the edition of Corporate Volunteer Program , the and (especiallyfor being new majority! ) The # VoluntariosAfi share with us their experiences through blog Afi Foundation and through twitter.

During this period of voluntary work they will have the continued support of a large number of # VoluntariosAfi in headquarters , responsible for facilitating the work in the field, complementing actions and provide technical assistance when required from their destinations .

Upon his return, share the learning society , through our publications , public seminars and addressing all queries and want to move our friends interested in this enriching experience , both individual and corporate .

Afi : Leaving the comfort zone

by Carmen López Herrera

I’ve never been to Peru . I have not participated in a volunteer program . Even despite having completed the Master in Banking and Finance from the School of Applied Finance Afi , I’ve done projects related to commercial banking.



With these credentials seems unlikely that the Corporate Volunteer Program of the Afi Foundation could fit into the expectations of someone like me, who spent six years working alongside the Spanish government trying ( among other things ) to find new ways to manage their budget and looking for imaginative alternatives to meet the tired “do more with less.”

If the severity of the crisis has been felt in many areas , the public sector has certainly been at the forefront , still a matter of priority interest to investors and international institutions in some of the greatest times of financial stress that our country has suffered .

Seeing the precipice that we have approached many times it has made me feel at one time as if the crisis in Spain ( and Europe ) were the only , the first and even the worst of the Contemporary Age . And we know (or should know) that this is not so . You have to look out, leaving a little ethnocentrism and try to be sensitive to the dynamics and needs of other companies.

My participation in corporate volunteer program , which will take me south of Peru to work with the EDPYME Fondesurco (until nothing NGOs) , looking beyond to help others ( something undoubtedly laudable but in most cases it actually helps oneself) , locate ” our ” crisis in the global context . In other words, give the importance it really has .

125I understand my three weeks volunteering in Fondesurco as an exchange in which try to provide the greatest added value to the actions we raise ( in Spain I think now we know how, and HOW NO, should expand their business financial institutions ) , to while working in a radically different sector to mine, that forces me to learn new concepts and develop skills that had not been necessary so far.

In any work is good sometimes out of your comfort zone , but in consulting, where imagination and adaptability to new environments is a continuing obligation , is key .

Just a tip: Peru ‘s GDP grew 6.3% in 2012 (yes, at constant prices) , linking fourteen years of consecutive growth. I think there is nothing more to say about changing environment . Begin .

Want to know more about the Nicaraguan microfinance?

After the extraordinary experience of volunteering a year ago in Cochabamba ( Bolivia ) , I embark on a solidarity adventure again , participating in this second edition of the Corporate Volunteer Program and Afi Afi Foundation. This time , my traveling companion is extra Pablo and our destiny is the largest country in Central America , but also the second highest poverty level, behind only Honduras ( according to the ECLAC) .

Nicaragua welcomes us ! Well take over from Carmen and Meredith , # VoluntariosAfi that during the month of July we have narrated their journey through Peruvian soil . We in Managua, remain in a house known as # VoluntariosAfi 2012: microfinance institution with which we are working is none other than MiCrédito . I thank the manager , Ms. Veronica Herrera, to Mrs. Grethel Maeza and the rest of the team for their kindness and great reception. I also want to thank Afi Foundation gives us the opportunity to get into the Nicaraguan microfinance.

When I was presented the opportunity to come here , I did not hesitate much … as they say here , “give it ! ”

The microfinance sector in Nicaragua and, in general , in the region of Central America has to face different challenges. In a recent article published in the journal ” Microfinance & Microenterprise ” , the manager of the Investment Partnership for Microenterprise in Central America and the Caribbean ( SICSA ) , Anibal Montoya , noted that microfinance institutions in the region have to implement improvements in of governance , improving the composition of the governing bodies and management quality . Competitive institutions are needed , with a robust human capital and make use of new technological tools in their processes. All this in a context of progressive strengthening and improving the regulatory framework , as pointed Raul Sanchez , manager of Red Katalysis .

Notably, Nicaragua , following the adoption in July 2011 of Act 769, Development and Regulation of Microfinance , is living an intense process of creating regulations to progressively regulate various aspects of microfinance activity . Also, both professionals, and Montoya Sánchez , appeal to the need for microfinance institutions do not forget your rationale, to the observance of a trend away from the base of the pyramid. However, a growing incursion is also seen in the rural areas to the financing of small farming businesses , with special relevance for energy generation projects .

As such environmental projects and power generation , Carmen and Meredith illustrated very well in their posts on Fondesurco activities in Peru. Here in Nicaragua , MiCrédito is also committed to the environment and has recently launched an initiative in collaboration with Global Partnerships, to provide green energy to customers in rural areas who still depend on kerosene .

The area where I am working with MiCrédito , however , is not the product but the Green Microfinance transparency and customer protection , with particular emphasis on claims management . A fascinating and vital to the proper functioning of microfinance system , which is to ensure not only adequate financial performance , but also a good social performance area .

In future posts I will tell you more about this subject , while we will discover the unique culture. For now we present a picture of a small shop within the premises of a dwelling ; what is here called ” grocery store ” and usual activity of many of the beneficiaries of microcredit.


Pulpería in Managua

I can not conclude without acknowledging that these lines Managua is surprising me positively , I imagined more hostile and more severe weather . Neighborhoods ( areas with very marginal housing ) , the bitter side of those who have barely enough to eat, or the chaotic traffic coexist , however , with the friendliness of its people, the jovial spirit of having fun dancing cumbia or the possibility of dining on the shore of Laguna Tiscapa , located in the crater of a volcano.

All indications are that this volunteer experience , which is my first trip to nica territory will be very interesting . I ‘ll tell you !

Solve your doubts on loans and mortgages

114We are happy to announce the start of a new line of activity in Afi Foundation, directly related to our goal of financial education.

This is the opening on April 29, a series of monthly talks at the rate of two per month in the Municipal Offices Information and Guidance for the Integration of Immigrants of the City of Madrid.

The first session was super interesting to us, and the comments received, also for attendees, over 25, nearly a dozen nationalities. We were able to answer questions – all very relevant and in many cases coincide – and issue some simple recommendations to lead responsible personal finance management.

Alumni Speaker : Microfinance in Action II

Under the Alumni Speaker of March , last Thursday we had the opportunity to enjoy the experiences of Anne and Meredith , # VoluntariosAfi of the Second Edition of the Corporate Volunteer Program and Afi Afi Foundation. Paul and Carmen could not join us for being out of Spain this week. 
The session focused on the analysis of the situation in the microfinance sector in both Nicaragua and Peru , countries that are today referred for his life and dimension is .

Nicaragua is characterized broadly by being immersed in a process of policy and regulatory development that ensures ( i ) legal certainty for the sector as a whole , considering both supply (operators ) and demand ( customers) ; ( ii ) an ordered and strengthened the financial services industry for the majority development; and ( iii ) attract investment for growth funding to the neediest sectors , especially those in rural areas.

After the shock which involved – and there are still consequences – the movement of “no pay” originated around 2008 , the path chosen by the authorities and the industry has been to provide the sector with a basic regulatory infrastructure . 

Peru , meanwhile , repeated for the sixth consecutive year as the economy with the best regulatory environment for the development of microfinance, which are subject to almost all operators serving the sector . Others are in process compliance through institutional transformation processes from various legal forms to – generally – that of Edpyme , as has been the case of the host institution of microfinance # VoluntariosAfi .

MiCrédito in Nicaragua and Peru have been Fondesurco in entities that received technical and professional support # VoluntariosAfi in July and August 2013, with whom certainly repeat the experience in 2014 of which will be happy to share news with you .

Microfinance in Morocco

115“The history of microfinance in Morocco is fairly recent. ‘s First institutions interested in providing microcredit emerged in the 90s and the sector was developed to position Morocco as one of the leaders of microcredit in the Arab world, with a portfolio of more than 40% of clients in the region .

In the beginning , most institutions for microcredit were NGOs who had decided to incorporate this service as one among its welfare work . However, this changed in 1999 when watching the boom that was experiencing the microfinance sector and having signed a bilateral agreement with USAID by pledging to support the project launched with U.S. help, the Moroccan government published Law 18-97 of April 1, 1999 on microcredit .

María Teresa González – López Cotelo student Degree in International Relations and Translation and Interpretation at the Pontifical University of Comillas ( Madrid) , has prepared this report during your stay with us. Today, what we offer you @ s tod @ s . We hope you find it useful and you enjoy it.

Cheers and happy week.

Mobile payment : a quest for global expansion

How to pay via mobile devices is changing the retail experience

The retail industry , worldwide , is trying to cope with the challenge of increasingly connected consumers . This means an increase in consumer expectations regarding their mobile devices .

Sales via mobile devices , are growing rapidly . Payments in furniture stores almost quadrupled in the past year in the USA. Only PayPal processed nearly $ 14 billion in mobile payments in 2012 , according to Business Insider . This data leaves no doubt that payments via mobile devices need to be a key part of future retail strategy.

The mobile payments market has not reached its full potential , despite the recent evolution of the sector in the last two years. According to the Brazilian Chamber of Electronic Commerce, the accelerating pace of trade through mobile devices ( tablets and smartphones ) doubled : from 5% in 2011 to 10 % in 2012 This expansion is due to the cheapening of technology and . access to mobile broadband , but also shows that the Brazilian is starting to lose the fear of using these devices for shopping.

The Mobile Payment has been conquering various countries of the world as a modern and dynamic for payments. However , what draws attention in this innovative technology is that it conquered countries around the world, from Japan and countries of the east , where there is more technology to third world countries extramente poor as Kenya .

Here in Brazil , experts ensure that we can build a system of m-payment using the payment model via NFC ( Near Field Communications , or by proximity communication ) , which uses smartphones and is used in more developed countries . Or even the payment model via SMS , which is very popular in regions like Africa, where the diffusion of more sophisticated equipment is smaller . So there is the need to build a hybrid model m-payment , based on that worked in several markets across the globe .

Challenges – According to Gustavo Purple, partner at consulting firm Booz & Company , Brazil is lagging behind compared to other countries . ” There are many questions on what are the most appropriate to our reality models for mobile payments . Even with doing several tests , the volume of adoption is still very low, ” he says. According to the executive , the challenges for this advancement are guided by cultural , technological and operational issues .

Recently the FTC ( Federal Trade Commission – USA ) released a report entitled , ” Paper , Plastic … or Mobile ? ” . The FTC cites research from KPMG , which states: 83% of retail executives of financial , technology and telecommunications services believe that mobile payments will be widespread consumer adoption by 2015 .

JPMorgan , divides the current state of mobile commerce market as follows :

The mobile acceptance ( any solution based on payment via mobile devices ) ;
The mobile wallets ( applications that allow consumers to use their mobile devices as payment in substitution of credit or debit cards ) ;
Mobile commerce ( e- commerce through any mobile device)
With the steady growth of the class C , which is eager to consume increasingly using various forms of payments , and the almost total penetration of mobile telephony in Brazil , the market for m-payment that is more eminent and invest in it , regularize it and keep an eye on trends is sure to e -commerce in Brazil bearing .

Anyway , this will be a decisive year for the Brazilian market for mobile payment . Recently the regulations were defined with this , large and small businesses should already be developing the market new solutions that facilitate the consumer’s life in order to make an integral part of their everyday technology.

The 6th EDITION OF MOBILE PAYMENT SUMMIT will focus on discussing issues related to strategy, business models , technology and regulation of mobile financial services .

Afi : Green Microfinance

One day experiential tourism on the island of Amantani in Lake Titicaca , we had only to assess small everyday actions that , by always having at our disposal, we sometimes forget how much better our quality of life . Open a faucet and run the water, flip a switch and the light comes on , to pull the toilet tank , heat food by pressing a button and a long list of actions that many Peruvians who live in rural areas can not enjoy.

So it is important that in addition to the public initiative , private entities will put in place to cover projects or improve basic services . As mentioned in previous posts, Fondesurco has developed along with a number of partners Programme Renewable Energy Solutions ( RES) , which aims to bring friendly products environment to rural areas to meet basic needs of the people offering funding. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of Fondesurco is that MFI is a pioneer green microfinance , ie credits that encourage seeks to promote care for the environment.


Fondesurco client with newly installed Solar therm .

Currently Fondesurco is already marketing two green products , improved furnace and solar thermal, and three more are underway . Carmen and Dr. Núñez , technical advisor I + D + i Fondesurco presented the improved oven so now is the time to talk about the advantages of solar therm .

“Cold showers are over, have your Solar hot water thermos NOW POSSIBLE ! ” This is the slogan with which solar therm Fondesurco leads to rural areas of Peru . Thermo Solar uses the sun’s energy to heat water , keep warm and can use it anytime . With the purchase of Thermae , Fondesurco customers save time , energy and money . They no longer have to worry about heating water for bathing or washing dishes. In the best case, substitute electricity ( some do not even have electricity ) by solar energy , protecting the environment. And those who already have or thermo electric shower can save up to 70 % of the electricity bill . Solar thermal bath is intended both for family and business use , especially in lodgings and restaurants.

The role of Fondesurco is to contact the vendor to install solar thermal bath and provide technical assistance and after-sales service to customers to ensure the efficient use of clean, renewable energy . With Fonde Energia Fondesurco financial product to fund green products , customers can get up to 25,000 micro soles ( about 7,000 euros) to buy the hot springs, and return them within a period of four years.


Factors determining financial inclusion in Peru

Whether the microfinance sector is increasingly composed by entities with profit sheltered from the opening of new markets and negligible returns, one of the purposes or perhaps to microfinance has always been and is the financial inclusion of people for economic , social or geographic location are ” outside the system ” .

Factors that affect or relate to the inclusion (or not ) Financial are varied and , as I have done my volunteer work in Peru , I tried to delve into which of these factors are having a significant role in this country . A good summary of this can be found here, a paper prepared by the Research Department of the BBVA , after reviewing the literature on this issue, uses his experience in the country to determine the most relevant trends .


Thus it becomes clear that the greatest potential for financial inclusion is in the emerging middle classes in Peru , while there are factors that continue to this day to be a challenge for inclusion: being female , living in rural areas and have low income and low educational level are configured as the factors that hinder access to even microfinance .

While it is not possible for some of these issues rather than waiting for the development and sex education continue eliminating gaps , factors such as geographic for which improvements can be made that will certainly increase the level of financial inclusion in rural areas . The way to reduce the differences in the levels of inclusion of urban and rural population goes for using the mobile phone. Payments via mobile phone ” mobile payments ” , significantly reduce the costs in time and transport for customers , improving the cost-benefit of acquiring a financial product matrix significantly .

This field still unexplored by many microfinance institutions , is key unfactor development especially in those entities as Fondesurco , pioneers in the financial inclusion of the rural inhabitants of southern Peru . Let us hope that his NGO EDPYME transformation , a process in which we have been working Meredith and I, serves to lay the foundation for future innovations this.

118Since my volunteering ends and therefore also my posts , I want to take this opportunity to thank the Afi Foundation for personal and professional opportunity offered and that has certainly met my expectations. I leave as parting a view of the city of Arequipa. Our place of work in three weeks.

Who attends Rural customer in Nicaragua?

The microfinance sector in Nicaragua has not remained immune to the global financial crisis. The withdrawal of international funding has brought a noticeable thinning of your overall portfolio. Thus, the score of entities comprising the Nicaraguan Association of Microfinance Institutions ( ASOMIF ) has experienced , in all, a reduction of 30 % equity , you have indicated that ASOMIF executive director , Alfredo Alaniz , a # VoluntariosAfi . This decline occurred heritage after years of strong growth, in some cases very little solid , that the existence of institutions such as the Bank claimed Success .

The crisis also added the movement of non-payment (emerging in 2008) which , although mainly affect the northern region of Nicaragua , as manifested Alfredo D. ; its impact on the microfinance sector has not been trivial . In fact , the shadow of that movement is still present among those who ” make microfinance ” in this Central American country.

In these weeks of immersion in the Nicaraguan microfinance one of the things that caught my attention was the apparent ” lack of success ” of the group lending methodology . A reality that contrasts sharply with that seen last year in Bolivia , where the methodology is still key in financial inclusion of many Bolivians ; especially women.

In Nicaragua , however, when we met with microfinance users , some told us their negative experience with group microlending because it ” had been spotted ” your credit history as a result of any member of the group to which he belonged had not faced its payment obligations . In general , these users seem more likely to keep their debt individually. Given this, I thought there might be some reason cultural, or perhaps related to the level of literacy – financial training these people, who orientase preferences towards individual microcredit. While talking to Mrs. Veronica Herrera, CEO MiCrédito , told me that there had been good experiences in using community credit methodology , but the movement of non-payment ( and with it, the unilateral decision not to comply with payment obligations by some users) has altered its consistency and good performance.


Moreover, something that worries me is the withdrawal of microfinance institutions to urban areas , and I wonder : did they forget now the poorest ? Go through an identity crisis these institutions ?

By asking Allan D. Pérez , Head of Planning and Projects of the Central American and Caribbean Microfinance ( Redcamif ) , draw the current situation of the sector in Nicaragua , outlines

microfinance institutions as very conservative and selective in their operations in rural areas . The only network at the end of last year, had half of its portfolio tied to this area , while in 2010 the rural portfolio represented around 65 %. However, the weight of the portfolio is below 60% in all Redcamif integrated networks.

That behavior responds Nicaraguan microfinance institutions , in fact, a question of risk , as stated by Mr. Alfredo Alaniz . Agricultural credit carries with it the assumption of increased risk (influenced by the vulnerability of crop yields and the demographic dispersion). The profitability of agricultural activity is less than that of the productive and commercial sectors , demanding offer preferential rates to the first , so that traders are actually subsidizing farmers.

To overcome this barrier and serve the rural customer , Allan D. Perez appeals to the need to ” know-how rural finance ” : design tailored to the idiosyncrasies of the non- urban areas, with the focus of the triple bottom line ( financial, environmental products and training). Something you are already working in Central America .

It is certainly important that microfinance institutions adapt its offer to the specific needs of customers or users , based on those segments, such as rural, having greater difficulties in accessing credit . Such adaptation must also be done from the perspective of avoiding over-indebtedness of these users , ensuring their adequate protection, also benefit from better corporate social performance