Client Protection: How do MFIs mainstream client protection? (Ruben de Lara)

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Microfinance Focus, October 15, 2010 (Colombo) : Ruben de Lara, Executive Director, TSPI, (Philippines), reviewed the current client protection scene, saying, “I will not cover the principles, and I think client protection goes beyond microfinance, knowing that MF alone is not enough to eradicate poverty. The TSPI have come up with a holistic approach, we will continue to focus on doing all those that is right in a sustainable manner to deliver the poor out of poverty, through the way we build our relationship with our clients, our office – we refer to them as partners, with a shared vision, mission and responsibility. We entrust in them our capital to start or enhance existing livelihoods. When we lend to them, we make sure that they are clear of our expectations of them – to return their capital a 100 percent. When they are able to return it to us 100%, they really become our true partners. When they don’t, we try to understand why this is so by visiting their homes and providing solutions. Those problems sometimes arise from the breakdown of client discipline or discipline of our officers themselves.

One example is, one woman shared that she wasn’t able to pay her loans, because instead of paying monthly loan repayments, she was paying weekly service fees to a legal officer for her husband in jail”.

With that, I would like to address these client protection issues in our Q&A session.

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