15 April 2009, Dhaka. BRAC is endorsing the Campaign for Client Protection in Microfinance which is launching Spring 2009. The Center for Financial Inclusion is serving as interim host for the Campaign for Client Protection, a collaborative initiative endorsed and led by leaders in the microfinance industry.
The Campaign for Client Protection in Microfinance - Launching Spring 2009
The Campaign for Client Protection in Microfinance seeks to unite microfinance providers worldwide to develop and implement standards for the appropriate treatment of low-income clients based on the six principles. The overall objective of the Campaign is for these principles to become embedded within the fabric of the microfinance community and for microfinance to be recognized as a strongly pro-consumer industry.
Beyond fostering adherence to these common principles, the Campaign will develop a toolkit to help microfinance institutions incorporate the principles into their operations. It will also work towards certification standards that set apart those institutions which have fully implemented pro-consumer practices. The size of the mission is enormous, and collaboration is essential to the Campaign's success.
The objectives of the Campaign are to:
º Unite the microfinance industry around a clear statement of the core principles of client protection;
º Gain the commitment of MFIs and their staff to operate under these principles, demonstrated through a Microbanker`s Oath, in the spirit of the Hippocratic Oath;
º Establish a tool kit, based on research findings from the Beyond Codes action research project, to assist in the implementation of the principles into all aspects of institutional operations, including a self-assessment protocol and an institutional action plan;
º Create a website community to unite financial service providers, microfinance professionals and supporting organizations (investors, microfinance associations, network organizations, etc.) and provide for an ongoing dialogue with colleagues as they implement the tool kit;
º Work with the microfinance industry to create independent programs for institutional certification.
Integrating good client protection practices into MFI operations worldwide is a large undertaking; it requires the involvement of all facets of the industry. The Campaign for Client Protection offers all microfinance industry stakeholders the opportunity to join in this work as we seek the answers together. Together we can discover how best to advance this agenda and integrate good consumer protection practices more fully into all institutions that work in microfinance.
As an initial goal, the Campaign has committed to engaging at least half of the world's 500 largest microfinance institutions (MFIs) reporting to the MIX Market within the next three years. The MIX 500 largest MFIs serve an estimated 65 million poor borrowers worldwide, 70 percent of them women. Ultimately, the Campaign envisions that thousands of people working in the microfinance industry will also personally sign the Banker's Oath via the campaign website.