Warm Welcome in Ecuador for Pricing Transparency Initiative
I have just returned from a two-week trip to launch the Transparent Pricing Initiative in Ecuador and Bolivia. I am happy to report that the launch was successful in both countries. The Initiatives in South America are funded by the Ford Foundation to promote fair and transparent pricing in the microfinance industry in Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. As my job with MFTransparency primarily involves managing the South America work, the launch of our Initiative in the first two countries this year was an exciting experience for me. I also finally got the chance to meet our Board member María Sara Jijon who has been incredibly supportive and a great inspiration. In Ecuador, the local microfinance network Red Financiera Rural (RFR) is our strategic implementation partner and we greatly appreciate their support in this Initiative.
During the week of April 26th we kicked off our Initiative in Ecuador with workshops and meetings in Quito, Ambato and Guayaquil. It was inspiring to see firsthand how many industry stakeholders support our work and are excited to collaborate in this effort. Representing the diversity of the Ecuadorian microfinance industry, the whole spectrum of MFIs – NGOs, cooperatives and banks – participated in our workshops, as well as a range of other industry stakeholders including government agencies and regulators, industry support organizations, donors and investors, as well as rating agencies and technical assistance providers.
In Quito, 58 participants attended our workshop, 26 stakeholders joined the workshop in Ambato and 15 participants discussed pricing transparency with us in Guayaquil. Among the participants were some of the most prominent regulated and non-regulated MFIs, including CREDIFE, Banco Solidario, ProCredit, COAC Jardín Azuayo, COAC Mushuc Runa, FINCA, CODESARROLLO, and D-Miro. Representatives of the Banking and Insurance Superintendency, the Ministry for Coordination of Economic Policy and the Ministry for Coordination of Social Development also joined the workshops, as well as rating agencies such as Microfinanza Rating, local networks including the Red Financiera Rural (RFR) and the Private Banks Association of Ecuador, and other industry stakeholders such as Freedom From Hunger, Swisscontact, UNDP and several independent consultants. We also had very positive and productive meetings with Banco Solidario, CREDIFE, FINCA, and ProCredit as well as with the Banking Superintendency and the local microfinance network RFR.
We are excited to collaborate with the whole range of local MFIs, the Banking Superintendency and Central Bank, and other key stakeholders within the Ecuadorian microfinance industry in this effort. The largest MFIs have already agreed to submit data to MFTransparency and we are confident that the rest of the sector will follow their example. In my next post, I will write more about Ecuador’s regulatory framework and how our Initiative fits into the existing policy surrounding transparency.