The Smart Campaign, a global movement of client-protection principles imparted into the microfinance industry, said more than 20 million low-income clients have benefitted from the certified Smart Campaign MFIs.
Since February 2015, the number of clients served by Smart-Certified financial institutions (FIs) has grown by 6 million, to a total of 21 million, with the certification of an additional 11 institutions. To date, 39 FIs, from 19 countries across Latin America to Africa and Asia, have achieved Smart Certification, including some of the world’s best-known institutions dedicated to serving the poor.
The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Certification Program contains a core set of standards against which institutions are evaluated by independent, third-party evaluators.
Smart Certification publicly recognizes those institutions providing financial services to microentrepreneurs with a standard of care that upholds the microfinance industry’s seven Client Protection Principles, which cover such critical practices as transparency, fair and respectful treatment, responsible pricing and prevention of over-indebtedness.
“Twenty million clients is an exciting milestone – recognition of the fact that there’s growing momentum in the industry for client protection,” said Isabelle Barrès, Smart Campaign director. “These organizations are not just paying lip service to the concept of fair treatment, but actually working hard to improve practices,” she added.
The Client Protection Certification Program is funded by the MasterCard Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Fund, Agence Française de Développement, and Accion. World Bank’s Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) is the Smart Campaign co-founder.