Tag Archives: Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

Smart Campaign Reaches Milestone with 100 Certifications in Financial Consumer Protection

The certification of 100 financial service providers, collectively serving more than 42 million low-income clients worldwide, marks major achievement for financial inclusion.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Smart Campaign, the leading industry voice on financial consumer protection, housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today that 100 financial service providers (FSPs) have attained Smart Certification, a landmark achievement in responsible financial inclusion.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign launched the certification program in 2013 as a way for FSPs to align their policies and practices with industry-accepted Client Protection Principles, which articulate standards for product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, treatment of clients, data privacy, and complaint resolution. In just five years of offering Smart Certification, 100 FSPs have successfully undergone the rigorous certification process, resulting in greater protection for more than 42 million low-income clients globally.

“Reaching this milestone and seeing the continued interest for certification from a wide range of providers – including fintech startups – is very encouraging,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “It demonstrates that protecting consumers and building trust maximizes benefits for both the client and the companies that serve them.”

The certified FSPs are spread throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The momentum for certification signals that the industry increasingly values client protection not only for the sake of clients, but also because certification streamlines the business practices of FSPs. In a recent survey of certified institutions, 96% of providers agreed that certification helped them better prioritize client protection and 93% noted a clearer alignment between the institution’s culture and its social mission. Another benefit called out by certified FSPs includes increased recognition from clients, regulators, and potential investors. Increasingly, consumer protection is rightfully seen as a business strategy.

The Smart Campaign. (PRNewsFoto/The Smart Campaign) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign will continue its standard-setting and certification efforts with philanthropic support from a wide range of partners. In addition to advancing certification, the Campaign will also work to elevate the client voice in an increasingly digital world, shed light on emerging client risks, and convene policymakers and other stakeholders to effect change at the national level in the countries in which it has certified organizations.

About The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

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Smart Campaign Reaches Milestone with 100 Certifications in Financial Consumer Protection

The certification of 100 financial service providers, collectively serving more than 42 million low-income clients worldwide, marks major achievement for financial inclusion.

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Smart Campaign, the leading industry voice on financial consumer protection, housed at the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion, announced today that 100 financial service providers (FSPs) have attained Smart Certification, a landmark achievement in responsible financial inclusion.

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. (PRNewsFoto/Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. The Campaign launched the certification program in 2013 as a way for FSPs to align their policies and practices with industry-accepted Client Protection Principles, which articulate standards for product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency, responsible pricing, treatment of clients, data privacy, and complaint resolution. In just five years of offering Smart Certification, 100 FSPs have successfully undergone the rigorous certification process, resulting in greater protection for more than 42 million low-income clients globally.

“Reaching this milestone and seeing the continued interest for certification from a wide range of providers – including fintech startups – is very encouraging,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “It demonstrates that protecting consumers and building trust maximizes benefits for both the client and the companies that serve them.”

The certified FSPs are spread throughout Latin America, Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe. The momentum for certification signals that the industry increasingly values client protection not only for the sake of clients, but also because certification streamlines the business practices of FSPs. In a recent survey of certified institutions, 96% of providers agreed that certification helped them better prioritize client protection and 93% noted a clearer alignment between the institution’s culture and its social mission. Another benefit called out by certified FSPs includes increased recognition from clients, regulators, and potential investors. Increasingly, consumer protection is rightfully seen as a business strategy.

The Smart Campaign. (PRNewsFoto/The Smart Campaign) (PRNewsFoto/)

The Smart Campaign will continue its standard-setting and certification efforts with philanthropic support from a wide range of partners. In addition to advancing certification, the Campaign will also work to elevate the client voice in an increasingly digital world, shed light on emerging client risks, and convene policymakers and other stakeholders to effect change at the national level in the countries in which it has certified organizations.

About The Smart Campaign

The Smart Campaign works globally to create an environment in which financial services are delivered safely and responsibly to low-income clients. As the world’s first financial consumer protection standard, the Campaign maintains a rigorous certification program, elevates the client voice, and convenes partners to effect change at the national level. Over 100 financial institutions, collectively serving more than 42 million people, have been certified for adhering to the Campaign’s industry-accepted consumer protection standards. More at www.smartcampaign.org.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

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Insurers Leverage New Technologies and Reinvent Business Models to Reach Underserved Consumers, Report Finds

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) and the Institute of International Finance (IIF), with the support of MetLife Foundation, today released a new report detailing the factors spurring inclusive insurance around the world. It reveals how both traditional and new insurers are breaking open new markets and reaching underserved customers through the use of innovative technologies, business models, product design, and partnerships, enabled by effective regulatory environments.

The report, “Inclusive Insurance: Closing the Protection Gap for Emerging Customers” is based on extensive interviews with commercial insurers and insurance experts who are making inclusive insurance work as a successful business model. With insights from players at the frontlines, the report identifies the main challenges of providing insurance to lower income populations, as well as the solutions companies are using to overcome them. For example, companies are:

  • Using new distribution channels and aggregators – from telcos to farmer cooperatives – to identify and connect with low-income customers
  • Implementing new business models and products to provide and administer the risk mitigation solutions that low-income customers need
  • Deploying “insurtech” innovations and digital channels to connect with, and service, low-income customers

The market for inclusive insurance is vast, largely untapped, and potentially profitable. The confluence of rising incomes in emerging markets, and new technologies that reduce risk assessment and distribution costs, offer an opportunity for more insurers to meet the needs of the estimated 3.8 billion people who remain underserved or unserved.

“Even among people with very little disposable income, insurance can be a vital tool to manage financial risks and mitigate the effects of shocks,” said Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion. “Rising incomes around the world create new market opportunities, making long-term investment in inclusive insurance both profitable for insurers and meaningful in terms of social benefits.”

The inclusive insurance strategies highlighted in the report include eliminating costly verification screenings to identify “exclusions,” offering insurance policies without any fine print, triggering payouts based on verifiable events or data instead of claim submissions, and engineering more frequent payouts to consumers. The report also features examples of protective life and health insurance products designed to serve low-income customers, as well as newer products related to climate change, natural disasters, and food security.

“This report invites us to re-think the concept of insurance and its fundamental role in society. It is our hope that this report enables our diverse membership—particularly those financial institutions not yet active in insurance—to leverage their expanding work with underserved customers to help close the insurance gap,” said Conan French, Senior Advisor for Innovation and Fintech at the Institute of International Finance.

The new report is part of a two-year initiative from CFI and the IIF, with support from MetLife Foundation, to help advance the financial services industry’s ability to reach unserved and underserved populations. The project, titled “Mainstreaming Financial Inclusion: Best Practices,” facilitates learning and action on how financial institutions can respond to the specific challenges of reaching lower income market segments.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank that engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

www.cfi-blog.org

@CFI_Accion

About the Institute of International Finance

The Institute of International Finance is the global association of the financial industry, with close to 500 members from 70 countries. Its mission is to support the financial industry in the prudent management of risks; to develop sound industry practices; and to advocate for regulatory, financial and economic policies that are in the broad interests of its members and foster global financial stability and sustainable economic growth. IIF members include commercial and investment banks, asset managers, insurance companies, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, central banks and development banks. For more information visit www.iif.com.

 

 

Le Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion et The MasterCard Foundation s’associent pour renforcer la gouvernance d’entreprise en Afrique

– Ce soutien va renforcer la gouvernance en microfinance et la gestion des risques en Afrique, en faisant des dirigeants africains de la microfinance des « agents du changement »

WASHINGTON, 13 novembre 2014 / PRNewswire – Le Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (Centre pour l’inclusion financière à Accion) a annoncé aujourd’hui un partenariat de 6,1 millions de dollars avec The Mastercard Foundation (Fondation MasterCard), qui va lancer le programme de bourses d’entreprise d’Accion en Afrique. Destiné aux membres des conseils d’administration et aux PDG des entreprises, le programme de bourses vise à promouvoir l’enseignement par les pairs des pratiques de gouvernance et de gestion des risques dans les institutions financières au service des clients à faibles revenus en Afrique subsaharienne.

The%20Center%20for%20Financial%20Inclusion Le Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion et The MasterCard Foundation sassocient pour renforcer la gouvernance dentreprise en Afrique

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.

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Une solide gouvernance est largement reconnue comme un facteur essentiel pour la croissance et la durabilité des institutions de microfinance dans toute l’Afrique subsaharienne, parmi les régions du globe qui connaissent la croissance la plus rapide. Grâce à un réseau d’élite de pairs, ce programme pionnier dans son genre va relever des défis tels que la marche à suivre dans les marchés concurrentiels, l’avancée des performances sociales, la gestion des risques internes et externes, et la création d’une responsabilité entre le conseil et la gestion. Relever ces défis permettra de promouvoir la croissance, la capacité et la durabilité des institutions de microfinance dans une région qui compte plus de 6,6 millions de clients de microfinance.

« Accion a pour philosophie de construire un monde d’inclusion financière, où tout un chacun a accès aux outils financiers susceptibles d’améliorer sa qualité de vie. Or une solide gouvernance dans les institutions de microfinance est essentielle pour faire de cette philosophie une réalité », a déclaré Michael Schlein, président et PDG d’Accion. « Notre collaboration avec The MasterCard Foundation permettra d’élargir l’accès aux services financiers aux personnes et foyers à faibles revenus et aux petites entreprises en Afrique subsaharienne, en permettant aux dirigeants d’offrir un service plus efficace à leurs clients. »

La première promotion de boursiers sera lancée au printemps 2015. Des séminaires de plusieurs jours destinés aux  dirigeants de la microfinance marqueront le coup d’envoi du programme de bourses, lequel se déroulera sur neuf mois. À la fin du programme, les boursiers resteront en contact en qualité d’anciens élèves, fournissant ainsi un réseau de soutien composé de dirigeants aux vues similaires et confrontés à des défis semblables. Les boursiers reçoivent également l’acceptation automatique dans le programme Harvard Business School-Accion qui porte sur le leadership stratégique dans le secteur de la finance accessible à tous.

The%20MasterCard%20Foundation Le Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion et The MasterCard Foundation sassocient pour renforcer la gouvernance dentreprise en Afrique

The MasterCard Foundation.

« Ce projet est en phase avec l’une de nos valeurs fondamentales, à savoir cultiver le leadership sur le continent », a déclaré Ann Miles, directrice de la finance accessible à tous à The MasterCard Foundation. « Il servira également à échelonner l’accès aux produits et services financiers aux plus défavorisés sur le plan économique. Les clients doivent avoir confiance dans la bonne gestion et la bonne gouvernance des organisations financières avec lesquelles ils traitent. Cette initiative peut contribuer à construire la confiance nécessaire, en renforçant la gamme des compétences des membres des conseils d’administration et des PDG qui supervisent les institutions de microfinance en Afrique. »

« Réunir la bonne combinaison de membres des conseils et de PDG dans un environnement dynamique d’enseignement par les pairs va permettre d’améliorer la capacité des dirigeants de la microfinance à conduire la mission stratégique globale et les opérations de leurs institutions », a déclaré Deborah Drake, vice-présidente du Center for Financial Inclusion et directrice du nouveau programme. « En fin de compte, ce programme de leadership garantira des institutions plus durables et capables de mettre des services financiers de grande qualité à la portée d’un plus grand nombre de clients. »

Le programme de bourses d’entreprises en Afrique reçoit également le soutien de la banque FMO et il est mis en œuvre en partenariat avec Calmeadow.

À propos du Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
Le Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) est un groupe de réflexion orienté vers l’action, qui œuvre à la pleine accessibilité financière dans le monde entier. La construction d’un secteur de l’inclusion financière susceptible de fournir à quiconque des services de qualité va demander les efforts combinés de nombreux acteurs. Le CFI contribue à la pleine accessibilité en collaborant avec les participants du secteur pour s’attaquer aux défis hors de portée des acteurs isolés. Dans ce but, il utilise des outils qui englobent la recherche, la capacité de rassembler, le renforcement des capacités et les communications. Pour en savoir plus sur le CFI, veuillez visiter www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

À propos de The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation est une organisation mondiale indépendante basée à Toronto, au Canada, et qui a plus de 9 milliards de dollars d’actifs. Grâce à la collaboration avec des organisations partenaires dans 49 pays, elle crée des opportunités d’apprendre et de prospérer pour tout le monde. Les programmes de la Fondation facilitent l’inclusion financière et font avancer l’apprentissage des jeunes, surtout en Afrique. Fondée en 2006 grâce à la générosité de MasterCard Worldwide, quand celle-ci est devenue une entreprise publique, la Fondation est une entité distincte et indépendante. Les politiques, les opérations et les décisions de financement de la Fondation sont déterminées par son propre conseil d’administration et son président-directeur général. Pour en savoir plus sur la Fondation, veuillez visiter www.mastercardfdn.org.

Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and The MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

– Support Will Increase Microfinance Governance and Risk Management in Africa, Developing African Microfinance Leaders as ‘Agents of Change’

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12, 2014 / PRNewswire – The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion today announced a $6.1 million partnership with The MasterCard Foundation to launch the Accion Africa Board Fellowship program.  Targeted at corporate board members and CEOs, the Fellowship program is designed to promote peer-to-peer learning on governance and risk management practices at financial institutions that serve low-income clients in sub-Saharan Africa.

The%20Center%20for%20Financial%20Inclusion Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and The MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion.

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Strong governance is widely recognized as critical to the growth and sustainability of microfinance institutions across sub-Saharan Africa, among the fastest-growing regions in the world.  Through an elite network of peers, this first-of-its-kind program will address challenges such as navigating competitive markets, advancing social performance, managing both internal and external risks, and creating accountability between board and management.  Addressing these challenges will promote the growth, capacity and sustainability of microfinance institutions in a region with more than 6.6 million microfinance clients.

“Accion’s vision is to build a financially inclusive world where everyone has access to the financial tools that can improve their lives—and strong governance at microfinance institutions is critical to making that vision a reality,” said Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion.  ”Our collaboration with The MasterCard Foundation will help expand access to financial services for low-income individuals, households and small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa by enabling leaders to more effectively serve their clients.”

The%20MasterCard%20Foundation Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion and The MasterCard Foundation Partner to Strengthen Board Governance in Africa

The MasterCard Foundation

The inaugural class of fellows will be launched in the spring of 2015.  Multi-day seminars for microfinance leaders anchor the Fellowship, which takes place over nine months.  At the conclusion of the program, fellows stay connected as alumni, providing a support network of like-minded leaders confronting similar challenges.  Fellows also receive automatic acceptance into the Harvard Business School-Accion Program on Strategic Leadership in Inclusive Finance.

“This project aligns with one of our core values, that of cultivating leadership on the continent,” said Ann Miles, Director of Financial Inclusion at The MasterCard Foundation.  ”It will also serve to scale access to financial products and services for the most economically disadvantaged.  Clients need to trust that the financial organizations they do business with are well-managed and well-governed.  This initiative can help build that trust by strengthening the skills sets of board members and CEOs who oversee Africa’s microfinance institutions.”

“Convening the right mix of board members and CEOs in a dynamic, peer-learning environment will improve microfinance leaders’ ability to guide the overall strategic mission and operations of their institutions,” said Deborah Drake, Vice President at the Center for Financial Inclusion and head of the new program.  ”Ultimately, this leadership program will ensure more sustainable institutions, able to reach more clients with high-quality financial services.”

The Africa Board Fellowship program is also supported by FMO and is being implemented in partnership with Calmeadow.

About the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) is an action-oriented think tank working toward full global financial inclusion. Constructing a financial inclusion sector that reaches everyone with quality services will require the combined efforts of many actors.  CFI contributes to full inclusion by collaborating with sector participants to tackle challenges beyond the scope of any one actor, using tools that include research, convening, capacity building, and communications. To learn more about CFI, visit www.centerforfinancialinclusion.org

About The MasterCard Foundation
The MasterCard Foundation is an independent, global organization based in Toronto, Canada, with over $9 billion in assets.  Through collaboration with partner organizations in 49 countries, it is creating opportunities for all people to learn and prosper. The Foundation’s programs promote financial inclusion and advance youth learning, mostly in Africa. Established in 2006 through the generosity of MasterCard Worldwide when it became a public company, the Foundation is a separate and independent entity. The policies, operations and funding decisions of the Foundation are determined by its own Board of Directors and President and CEO.  For more information on the Foundation, please visit www.mastercardfdn.org.