MiCrédito reaches underserved populations in both urban and rural Nicaragua. We strive to offer products tailored to meet our clients' needs, and embrace new technology to serve clients more efficiently and effectively.
MiCrédito uses a personal approach, going door to door, visiting rural communities by motorcycle. The desire is that all clients have a personal relationship with a member of MiCrédito's staff before the loan application process begins. These staff members are local to each office and many have deep ties to their local community.
Leaders in Technology
MiCrédito offer its clients faster service through an innovative new cell phone technology. With this technology, credit officers are able to run credit checks in the field. Using their cell phone devices they can enter the information into the transunion system. This has been a huge benefit to both MiCrédito and its clients – saving them time and money.
MiCrédito has also found a strategic partnership with Banco America Central (BAC), one of the largest banks in Central America. With BAC, MiCrédito is having clients access their loans through the
BAC ATM and Branch system by first depositing the loan into a BAC debit card account. Clients obtain a debit card from their MiCrédito loan officer and then are able to safely withdraw their money by visiting any BAC Point-of-sale.
MiCrédito has been able to reduce their own risk and the risk of their clients through this strategic partnership. Furthermore, MiCrédito is now able to offer clients access to the regulated banking system and the opportunity to save in the BAC account.
Financial education is extremely important for their prosperity and growth of client businesses and the organization, itself. MiCrédito ensures that every client goes through a rigorous process before receiving their first loan, in order to ensure that they fully understand the depth and significance of debt and interest, and the potential impact on their lives.
Furthermore, with the addition of the new BAC Debit Card product, clients must attend an educational meeting, which provides information on the new BAC system. The educational sessions are hosted by the Branch Coordinators and focus on the importance of saving through the debit card accounts. Also, the educational sessions provide answers to many commonly faced situations which may provide first-time bank account holders with an issue. For example, topics that have been discussed in the meetings include: how to use an ATM, how to change your PIN, the purpose and benefits of savings, and finally, additional restrictions and benefits of the BAC partnership for clients.
Each educational session had, on average, 50 clients and spanned 2 hours. The locations ranged from restaurants to MiCrédito branch offices, which ever locations were most convenient for clients. Clients were extremely happy and willing to take part in the educational sessions, feeling honoured, as for many, this was the first time that a Microfinance Institution had invited them to come together to be educated on finances.
MiCrédito was founded on July 1st, 2004. The current management team and its partner, the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA), have been involved in micro-lending in Nicaragua since 1990 through Fundación CHISPA. This foundation became one of the most successful programs in micro-lending during the 1990’s. In 2000, it partnered with other investors to establish the first regulated MFI in the country, named CONFIA, which included CHISPA’s loan portfolio and a 10-branch network with 70 trained and experienced staff members as the core components for the new financial institution. Through this partnership with outside investors, MEDA and the Management Staff at MiCrédito were able to obtain knowledge on how to function in a demanding regulatory environment in Nicaragua. In November 2002, MEDA decided to sell its shares in CONFIA to one of the other partners in order to help recapitalize CONFIA and bring in new funding to grow the institution.
In 2004, MEDA established a new financial organization called MiCrédito to provide an improved level of service and to target the underserved rural market in Nicaragua. Some of the key staff that participated in the original CHISPA were instrumental in creating MiCrédito.
MiCrédito management dedicated over eight years to building institutional capacity and in September 2012, the organization incorporated as a share-based company. Furthermore, in 2013 MiCrédito was officially approved by Nicaragua's new microfinance regulating body, CONAMI - the National Comission of Microfinance in Nicaragua. MiCrédito is looking forward to working alongside its clients, partners, shareholders and CONAMI to continue to provide social and financial support to Micro and Small Entrepreneurs.