Responsible Finance Forum

Study of Client Protection Practices in Latin America and the Caribbean

Sergio Guzmán
01 September 2013
Source:  The SMART Campaign

The Smart Campaign conducted a study on the client protection practices of 12 microfinance institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. This study looked at NGOs, banks, and credit unions, analyzing their client protection performance from the point of view of practitioners, offering recommendations to improve their client protection practices.

The Smart Campaign conducted a study on the client protection practices of 12 microfinance institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). This study looked at an assortment of organizations such as NGOs, banks, and credit unions in different countries, analyzing their client protection performance from the point of view of practitioners, offering recommendations to improve their client protection practices. The findings in this Study of Practices in LAC are intended to help stakeholders reflect on the current state of practice among microfinance institutions in LAC and how performance gaps can be addressed.

Overall, the MFIs studied in the report performed well in the principles of Preventing Over-Indebtedness, Responsible Pricing, and Ethical Staff Behavior, but there is (sometimes significant) room for improvement in the principles of Transparency, Appropriate Collections, and Mechanisms for Complaint Resolution. This report revealed that client protection performance is not easily generalized and improvement in certain principles is needed to meet the standards laid out.

We believe that reaching the Campaign’s standards of care in client protection across all seven principles is a possible objective for most organizations to achieve, provided enough time and dedication. Ultimately implementing the principles will strengthen institutions and improve client well-being.