Bolivia Data Launch Part 1: MFTransparency Industry Conference in La Paz
Thanks to the overwhelming support from MFIs and stakeholders of the Bolivian microfinance community, we reached a major milestone last month: We launched MFTransparency’s brand new pricing data for the Bolivian microfinance sector, featuring 100% of ASOFIN and FINRURAL membership participation. The Transparent Pricing Initiative in Bolivia, along with the data launch conference is sponsored by the Ford Foundation and MicroNed, and aims to provide a forum for dialogue on the issue of pricing transparency among industry actors as well as to foster a healthy free market environment and enhance consumer protection in the microfinance industry.
Over 70 representatives of the diverse Bolivian microfinance sector joined together for the data launch conference in La Paz, on December 2. The local networks ASOFIN and FINRURAL, which have been our strategic implementation partners throughout the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Bolivia, also supported us in the data launch. Fernando Mompó, President of ASOFIN, and José Auad, President of FINRURAL, inaugurated the conference with opening remarks. Mr. Mompó highlighted the progress made by the local microfinance industry over the past decade, specifically the implementation of effective truth-in-lending legislation and the publication of benchmarking reports by the local microfinance networks. MFTransparency’s Transparent Pricing Initiative was also discussed as an accomplishment in facilitating full disclosure of effective interest rates for microloan products of a range of microcredit providers, including banks, non-bank financial institutions, NGOs and cooperatives. Mr. Auad applauded the “spectacular” results of the Bolivia Initiative and congratulated the participating MFIs for successfully practicing pricing transparency, an issue he recognized as both one of the most fundamentally important and most challenging in the microfinance industry. The newly available pricing data will provide all stakeholders, specifically MFIs, regulators and funders, with technical evidence as the basis for informed decision-making.
The conference featured the launch of our brand new pricing data, a series of panels to promote an enhanced understanding of pricing in the Bolivian market and small group discussions delving into more specific current issues in the industry. This event also marked the award of MFTransparency´s Pricing Transparency Certificate to the participating pioneer MFIs. Over the next few days I’ll be writing a series of posts to share insights on our data analysis, the panel discussions and other details of this historic event.