RBAP-MABS joins the 2nd Beyond Codes Dialogue group

Thirty-six representatives from financial institutions, networks, development organizations, and consulting and rating firms joined the Dialogue for the Beyond Codes action research project held on November 9 and 10 in Washington D.C. The Dialogue group composed of industry experts and practitioners from the US, Mexico, Africa, India, Bosnia and the Philippines shared field experiences and discuss research results , validated and weighed universal indicators for the assessment process, and made recommendations on next steps to the Smart Campaign Steering Committee.
The dialogue is part of the agreement between RBAP-MABS, ACCION International, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines to work together in protecting the rights of financial institutions’ microfinance clients in the Philippines. The Philippine was represented by General Charles Hotchkiss, Executive Committee Chairman of Cantilan Bank.  Cantilan Bank is a Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS)-participating bank and the first and only bank in the Philippines that allowed for the assessment of its client protection practices.  Mr. Tomas Gomez IV, Chairman of the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc., and Mr. Eulogio Masilungan, Research and Monitoring Coordinator of MABS, also attended the Dialogue.  They were joined by Ms. Pia Roman of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Ms. Lalaine Joyas of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, and two representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs) providing microfinance services in the Philippines.
The Smart Campaign, spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International, is a global effort to unite microfinance leaders in keeping clients as the driving force of the industry.  This campaign provides microfinance institutions with the tools and resources they need to deliver transparent, respectful and prudent financial services to all clients.  Basic to the campaign are the Client Protection Principles, which are the minimum standards that clients should expect to receive when doing business with microfinance institutions. Among these are avoidance of over-indebtedness, transparent pricing, appropriate collection practices, ethical staff behavior, mechanisms for redress of grievances, and privacy of client data.
The participants shared positive feedback on the assessment process and results, citing the usefulness of the process for examining their own operations. They also cited the support from the institutions’ senior management and involvement of industry associations as crucial to ensuring the strength of the assessments.
Client protection innovations were also highlighted from institutions around the world during the Dialogue.  These included pilot projects on financial education in Caja Morelia and Compartamos in Mexico; piloting a debt counseling center in Bosnia jointly established by Mi-Bospo, Partner and Eki, and Cantilan Bank’s new system to receive client feedback via cellular phone text messages which has made it easier and faster for clients in the Philippines to share their feedback with the bank.  Cantilan Bank also presented its other client protection practices such as the use of the cashflow analysis in determining the loan amount to be extended to its clients, the operationalization of its own internal list to keep track of clients who regularly miss their amortization payments, the practice of providing detailed explanations of loan contract provisions to its clients, its bank-wide Code of Conduct, and the financial literacy programs it offers to unbanked populations.
MABS also shared its initiative to encourage its participating banks to proactively adopt pro-consumer practices such as conducting presentations on Client Protection Principles in its trainings and roundtable conferences, and providing client protection self-assessment guide to rural banks.

Thirty-six representatives from financial institutions, networks, development organizations, and consulting and rating firms joined the Dialogue for the Beyond Codes action research project held on November 9 and 10 in Washington D.C. The Dialogue group composed of industry experts and practitioners from the US, Mexico, Africa, India, Bosnia and the Philippines shared field experiences and discuss research results , validated and weighed universal indicators for the assessment process, and made recommendations on next steps to the Smart Campaign Steering Committee.

The dialogue is part of the agreement between RBAP-MABS, ACCION International, and the Microfinance Council of the Philippines to work together in protecting the rights of financial institutions’ microfinance clients in the Philippines. The Philippine was represented by General Charles Hotchkiss, Executive Committee Chairman of Cantilan Bank.  Cantilan Bank is a Microenterprise Access to Banking Services (MABS)-participating bank and the first and only bank in the Philippines that allowed for the assessment of its client protection practices.  Mr. Tomas Gomez IV, Chairman of the Rural Bankers Research and Development Foundation, Inc., and Mr. Eulogio Masilungan, Research and Monitoring Coordinator of MABS, also attended the Dialogue.  They were joined by Ms. Pia Roman of the Central Bank of the Philippines, Ms. Lalaine Joyas of the Microfinance Council of the Philippines, and two representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs) providing microfinance services in the Philippines.

The Smart Campaign, spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion at ACCION International, is a global effort to unite microfinance leaders in keeping clients as the driving force of the industry.  This campaign provides microfinance institutions with the tools and resources they need to deliver transparent, respectful and prudent financial services to all clients.  Basic to the campaign are the Client Protection Principles, which are the minimum standards that clients should expect to receive when doing business with microfinance institutions. Among these are avoidance of over-indebtedness, transparent pricing, appropriate collection practices, ethical staff behavior, mechanisms for redress of grievances, and privacy of client data.

The participants shared positive feedback on the assessment process and results, citing the usefulness of the process for examining their own operations. They also cited the support from the institutions’ senior management and involvement of industry associations as crucial to ensuring the strength of the assessments.

Client protection innovations were also highlighted from institutions around the world during the Dialogue.  These included pilot projects on financial education in Caja Morelia and Compartamos in Mexico; piloting a debt counseling center in Bosnia jointly established by Mi-Bospo, Partner and Eki, and Cantilan Bank’s new system to receive client feedback via cellular phone text messages which has made it easier and faster for clients in the Philippines to share their feedback with the bank.  Cantilan Bank also presented its other client protection practices such as the use of the cashflow analysis in determining the loan amount to be extended to its clients, the operationalization of its own internal list to keep track of clients who regularly miss their amortization payments, the practice of providing detailed explanations of loan contract provisions to its clients, its bank-wide Code of Conduct, and the financial literacy programs it offers to unbanked populations.

MABS also shared its initiative to encourage its participating banks to proactively adopt pro-consumer practices such as conducting presentations on Client Protection Principles in its trainings and roundtable conferences, and providing client protection self-assessment guide to rural banks.