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© 2017 Opportunity Internationalis a 501(c)3 nonprofit.

Our Response Illustration

Our Response:Are we meeting clients' needs?

Opportunity is committed to listening to clients and giving them a voice. This means collecting their feedback on products and services and responding with improved services. It also means implementing best practice as set by industry standards, ensuring our clients get access to effective, fair and transparent financial products and services.

Understanding Clients' Needs

We are committed to client-centered design through collecting feedback on products and services from clients. We do this through a variety of ways shown in the diagram below.

Select an area to learn more about how we use each tool to improve our service to clients

Responding to Clients' Needs

While it is vital to collect feedback from clients, it’s even more vital that this information is acted upon. This means responding to clients’ voices by tailoring better products and services to meet the needs of the families we serve.

Learn more about product development and design in the the case studies below

Innovating With Technology: Mobile Money In Rwanda

Innovating With Technology: Mobile Money In Rwanda

What did clients need?

Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda (UOB, serving 284,000 clients) provides loans and other financial services that help Rwanda’s predominantly rural and agriculture-based population to cover their daily household cashflow needs despite variable seasonal income. Farmers use UOB loans to fund inputs like seeds and fertiliser, as well as to cover the costs of transportation and storage after harvest.

When reviewing the needs of clients at the start of 2013, UOB found that demand for loans and other financial services was restricted because repayments and group meetings took clients away from their farms or businesses on a regular basis. There were also significant security issues affecting group loan clients who needed to travel with cash to make repayments at branches.

Verdiane Mukarukaka, UOB client Rwanda

mHose brought security for all of us. Before anyone could pass by you, count your payment and grab the money and run away. It meant big losses to all of us. In addition, using mHose, I no longer lose time waiting in line to be served by a teller. Nowadays, I pay everything through mHose while serving my clients. For example, when I am paying my bills I can also serve four client or more at the same time - that's money. mHose is a God-sent service."

Verdiane Mukarukaka, Market Vendor, UOB client, Rwanda

How did we respond?

UOB responded to this need by launching its mobile phone banking service, mHose, in partnership with Visa. Mobile money allows clients to manage their accounts, pay their loans, send and receive money, pay their bills and deposit and withdraw money from a network of agents. The reduction in the cost of delivery is up to 80%, meaning that more people living in poverty can be reached with a wider range of services.

But after the launch of mHose, UOB research showed that clients were not using the new service to save. So UOB redesigned the mHose savings product to better meet clients’ needs by reducing withdrawal charges and increasing interest rates.

Earlier this year, UOB also launched a new, flexible savings product with popular mobile financial services provider Tigo Cash. This savings account allows Tigo Cash customers to open an account with UOB and transfer money between their Tigo Cash wallet and their UOB wallet. This allows them to be able to earn interest on their balance (as UOB is a bank and Tigo Cash is not).

UOB also offers microinsurance products exclusively through mobile banking, making these financial tools more accessible to clients. As an added incentive, UOB offers its clients the opportunity to earn life insurance for themselves and their family members based on the balance in their mHose accounts.

UOB is building a reputation for not just introducing new products and services to meet demand in the market, but also for collecting and analysing client feedback and acting on that feedback to adapt products and services that give clients what they need to move out of poverty.

Enhancing Product Design: Savings in Indonesia

Enhancing Product Design: Savings in Indonesia

What did clients need?

KOMIDA, Opportunity’s partner in Indonesia, has provided loans to clients living in poverty for nearly a decade. It recently conducted an assessment of clients’ needs and found that many people required access to large sums of money to cover non-business costs in their communities and households such as medicine, funerals and festivals.

Without access to formal savings accounts, many of KOMIDA’s clients were simply unable to save to meet these needs. This meant they were forced to hold assets in cash, gold or other informal savings mechanisms, placing these assets at risk of loss or theft as well as pressure to spend or loan out cash to family and friends.

How did we respond?

In response to these needs, KOMIDA developed a suite of interest-earning savings packages for clients to choose from. Clients are able to withdraw funds after four months, by which time they have accumulated a significant enough amount of savings to cover personal expenses. Since launching at the start of 2015, KOMIDA is now providing 19,454 people with savings accounts.

Before having savings accounts, many of KOMIDA's clients were facing financial stress on an annual basis because of their commitments in cultural festivals, as well as other unexpected shocks. Our clients have been very excited by the (savings) product because they now have sufficient savings when they need them."

Ruslianah Syaflie, Social Performance Manager, KOMIDA

(Right) Mrs. Suarti and her husband, market vendor, KOMIDA client, Indonesia

Mrs. Suarti and husband, market vendor, KOMIDA client, Indonedia

Partnering for Impact: Health In India

Partnering for Impact: Health In India

What did clients need?

In Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, two of India’s poorest states, poverty goes hand-in-hand with health problems. In Bihar, as few as two in every 10 people have access to a toilet. Our partner, Cashpor, recognised that families like Nisha’s suffered from poor health practices and health outcomes, even compared to other poor rural areas of India. Driving this was a lack of awareness and understanding of basic, life-saving health knowledge such as nutrition, sanitary practices and neo-natal care. This prevented clients from running their businesses and benefitting from microfinance, while also keeping them trapped in poverty.

Nisha Devi, farmer, Cashpor client, India

Our family’s situation improved with a loan. Then I became a Community Health Leader. Helping other families with health education has given me respect within my community.”

Nisha Devi, farmer, Cashpor client, India

How did we respond?

In 2013, Cashpor entered into partnership with the Healing Fields Foundation (HFF), a not-for-profit providing health education and advice through a training program to empower women living in rural Indian communities.

Through the trust that Cashpor had built up by providing financial services to these communities, Cashpor’s loan officers were able to collect information on target communities’ health education, practices and needs. HFF has since provided training to over 2,000 local women, known as Community Health Leaders. After six months of training, the women go on to deliver health advice to over 200 families each.

As part of this partnership, Cashpor also introduced health-focused products, including loans for toilet construction and clean-cooking stoves, with HFF advising on provision of these products based on their experience in delivering health education and services in India.

Cashpor also adapted their systems to include monitoring of Health Leader activity. A mobile phone application used by loan officers to collect data on financial transactions was adapted to include information on health education training provided, including training modules covered, clients attending and understanding of material taught. This has helped identify persistent healthcare problems and provide further education and support where required.

Glossary

A

APR
Annual Percentage Rate
APY
Annual Percentage Yield

B

BC
Banking Correspondent
BI
Business Intelligence

C

COCA
Code of Conduct Assessment
CGAP
Consultative Group to Assist the Poor
CPP
Client Protection Principles: The 7 Client Protection Principles (CPPs) describe industry best practices relating specifically to the protection of microfinance clients. They were developed by the Smart Campaign in 2009.

E

EIR
Effective Interest Rate

I

IRR
Internal Rate of Return

M

MCWG
Microfinance CEO Working Group - a group of 8 microfinance networks who collaborate to encourage endorsement of Triple Crown initiatives in microfinance.
MFI
Microfinance Institution
MFT
Microfinance Transparency - an industry initiative to promote transparency around credit product pricing
MIS
Management Information System(s)
MIX
runs "Mix Market", a public data hub where MFIs share institutional data to enhance transparency and market insight

N

NPS
Net promoter score

O

OER
Operating Expense Ratio
OSS
Operational self-sufficiency

P

PAR
Portfolio at Risk
PPI
Progress out of Poverty Index - a poverty measurement tool designed by Grameen Foundation
PRS
Partner Reporting System

R

ROA
Return on Assets
ROE
Return on Equity

S

Social audit
third-party assessment of SPM practices
SMART objectives
stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound
Smart Campaign
An initiative to standardize best practices for client protection (includes Smart client protection certification process)
SME
Small medium enterprise
SPI4
CERISE Social Performance Indicators 4 - a self-assessment tool for partners to assess adherence to the USSPM and other best practice standards
SPM
Social Performance Management
SPTF
Social Performance Task Force - developed the Universal Standards for SPM. Calum Scott is a Board member.

T

TA
Technical Assistance
Triple Crown Initiatives
refers to 3 key SPM initiatives: 1) Endorsing the Smart campaign, 2) Endorsing Microfinance Transparency campaign and 3) Committing to implement the USSPM

U

USSPM
Universal Standards for SPM are a global, industry-wide effort to clarify and standardize SPM practices. Their development was coordinated by the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) with input from stakeholders and they were published in 2012.