Responsible Finance Forum

Code of Conduct Assessment for the Microfinance Sector

01 November 2014
Source:  MicroSave

A macro and micro view of MFI’s compliance to the Code of Conduct

Associations of Microfinance Institutions such as Sa-Dhan and the Microfinance Institutions Network developed a Code of Conduct (CoC) for Microfinance Institutions. They were supported in this effort by the Small Industries Development Bank of India and other institutions, after the Fair Practice Code that had been mandated by the Reserve Bank of India came into existence in 2013. The objective was to create acceptable standards and prescribe expected levels of responsible finance and lending by MFIs.

SIDBI took the responsibility for ensuring that MFIs implemented the Code of Conduct and Fair Practice Code seriously. Ever since SIDBI provided support for the Code of Conduct Assessment (COCA) studies, more than 50 MFIs, big and small, have been assessed and provided with inputs on their current state of play in terms of their compliance with the Code of Conduct and the Fair Practice Code. They have also been given guidance on the way forward. SIDBI commissioned MicroSave to consolidate reports of COCA studies of 50 MFIs done by five rating and evaluation companies. The objectives were to generate learning through insights that were gleaned from the sector, to streamline the future format of COCA reports and to reveal the overall lessons that could be learned from these individual assessments.

This report presents the consolidated findings of the Code of Conduct Assessment reports for 50 MFIs in India. The MFIs represent diverse legal structures and a range of business sizes and scales of operation. The MFIs are also representative of varying geographical presence, as they all varied in their outreach in different states across the country.

The reports have been analysed using a framework built on five key pillars that are critical to the implementation of the Code of Conduct. The five pillars are Integrating Social Value into Operations; Credit Processes and Policies; Human Capital; Transparency and Fairness; and Regulatory Compliance.