Category Archives: Microfinance

Farewell from FINCA Microfinance Bank

As I’m waiting to board my plane at Dar es Salaam airport I contemplate my last day at work.

What do you call it when you receive a warm welcome, get support throughout your assignment and appreciation in the end? In his farewell speech earlier today CEO Ed Greenwood talked about the FINCA family. And true, it feels like I have joined a family. I have gained many brothers and sisters in Tanzania (although age-wise some could be my kids).

Continue reading Farewell from FINCA Microfinance Bank


Funeral of an Employee in Tanzania

There has been a recent accumulation of obituaries in FINCAs email flow. Apparently every death of someone who is an employee or direct relative is acknowledged so co-workers can offer their condolences.

It appears that there is a specific way of dealing with death in Tanzania. There is substantial risk of losing face for the representatives of the company, especially if it is a foreign company. Let me tell you a little story. Continue reading Funeral of an Employee in Tanzania

Young Entrepreneurs in Mwanza

When I heard about young entrepreneurs in Mwanza I was very interested to visit them and find out more about the connection between entrepreneurs and loans. I have often heard that if only there were more money business could be taken to the next level and would become more profitable. My own views differ but I was willing to listen.

Swisscontact had teamed up with a donor on one side and local trainers  on the other side to start a project for unemployed youths. Continue reading Young Entrepreneurs in Mwanza

The Complaints about High Interest Rates

FINCA’s loan officers apparently get a lot of complaints about  high perceived interest rates in Tanzania. Their credits starts at 2.5% interest per month, and depend on loan amount and borrower risk. One of FINCA’s competitors advertises loans with a yearly interest rate of 25%. Short of discussing usury and setting aside culturally influenced notions that an interest should not be paid but rather received (the Swiss national bank is still imposing negative interest rates on large amounts at the time of writing) we may just ask ourselves: What is better for the client? Continue reading The Complaints about High Interest Rates

I’m Working in Six Sigma – Six what?

Half of my assignment with FINCA Microfinance Bank Tanzania has almost passed – time to write about what I’m actually doing, as the objective was not entirely clear at the beginning.

FINCA Tanzania is embracing a methodology to improve processes called Six Sigma. We currently  use it to analyze account opening and other back-office processes. After visiting two branches in Dar es Salaam it became clear that we should be focusing on Continue reading I’m Working in Six Sigma – Six what?

Why Do They Spend What They Don’t Have?

I grew up with a piggy bank. My generation was told by parents that it is important to save “for bad times”.  When bad times never came and I grew up I started to get a different idea of saving and the value of money. Yet I never considered credit except for buying a home. This one belief is hard to change: “Don’t spend what you don’t have.”

Yet the business model of microfinance institutions (MFIs) is based on the wish Continue reading Why Do They Spend What They Don’t Have?

How was my First Day with FINCA Tanzania?

Let me make a proper introduction first. This is Tanzanian style. Always ask “How are you?” first, follow suite and get to the point only after having heard “Welcome!” If you can’t wait to read how my day was, kindly jump to the bottom.

FINCA stands for the Foundation for International Community Assistance. John Hatch conceived “Village Banking” in 1984. His plan enabled poor Bolivian farmers with no collateral to access loans through a collective guarantee.  In 1985 Hatch established FINCA. Continue reading How was my First Day with FINCA Tanzania?

Salt, Soap and Shoes for Tanzania’s Elders – A Success Story

Old people in rural Tanzania face a difficult life. While health and strength deteriorate they can not hope to be supported by one of their many children, who are either unwilling or unable to help or have been consumed by AIDS.

In addition to being less and less able to provide an income they sometimes become primary caretakers of their orphaned grandchildren. Continue reading Salt, Soap and Shoes for Tanzania’s Elders – A Success Story

Transparent Microfinance Data is Revolutionary!

MIX, the global data hub for Microfinance Institutions

What is the significance of such a database? The key is the accessibility of data allowing for more thorough and transparent monitoring of Microfinance activities. Decisions can be made based Continue reading Transparent Microfinance Data is Revolutionary!

FINCA’s 30-year Anniversary

FINCA is Credits Suisse’s microfinance partner. It’s considered to be one of the most influential microfinance organizations in the world by Time Magazine. FINCA celebrated its 30-year anniversary in October 2014. Country CEOs, guests and partners joined global CEO Rupert Scofield in London. He summarized the last 30 years with British humour

“We came, we made a lot of loans and we got most of them back”

  • Operational in 22 countries, Nigeria coming up next
  • 1.8 million clients being served
  • $65 million raised in local currency notes through partner Credit Suisse
  • Daily experience of changing lives through 200-dollar loans