The Race for Transparency in Ecuador
LANCASTER, PA & QUITO, ECUADOR, July 13, 2010: The race for transparency is on in Ecuador. In April 2010 MFTransparency launched its Transparent Pricing Initiative in Ecuador. The project launched with a series of workshops and meetings in Quito, Ambato and Guayaquil. These events made Ecuador the third Latin American country to participate in the Transparent Pricing Initiative and set off a fierce competition. Since the launch local MFIs have worked tirelessly to compile their pricing data with MFTransparency’s data submission tool in the hopes of being the first in Ecuador to earn the Seal of Transparency. Who won the race? Read on…
The first big move to the win was made by D-MIRO, clocking in on May 27 with their first data submission to MFTransparency. This transparency pioneer is a partner of the international NGO Norwegian Mission Alliance in Ecuador (Misión Alianza de Noruega en Ecuador) which has supported microentrepreneurs in Isla Trinitaria, a peri-urban zone of the city of Guayaquil, since 1997. As the pricing data initially submitted by D-MIRO was not yet complete, the race for the first place continued.
The following day, May 28, MFTransparency visited FODEMI, an NGO MFI supporting rural households in the areas surrounding Otavalo. FODEMI completed the entire data tool the same day, a feat only rarely accomplished. About to reach the goal of being the first MFI to submit data, FODEMI was slowed down by a last minute setback, unable to provide copies of the original repayment schedules and loan contracts. At that moment a new contestant began to take the lead. Fundación DECOF was rapidly and accurately compiling and submitting data.
But they were not fast enough. A strong competitor from the start, D-MIRO still had the chance to win. Feeling the pressure from Fundación DECOF, they managed to submit the complete data tool along with all matching repayment schedules and contracts for their 9 microloan products in record time. On June 10, D-MIRO became the first Ecuadorian MFI to submit complete data to MFTransparency, and a legend in the race for transparency. Carlos Egas, CEO of D-MIRO, explained the significance of this achievement and the importance of transparency: “One of the values that have characterized D-MIRO along its institutional life is precisely that of transparency. It is for this reason that we continuously support and promote any initiative that furthers the development of the microfinance industry, on the basis of information that is correct, adequate and clear to all actors.”
After D-MIRO won first place, the race for second place continued with DECOF and FODEMI neck and neck. Just minutes after D-MIRO’s submission, MFTransparency received a complete data submission from Fundación DECOF. Chuck Waterfield, CEO and President of MFTransparency, recounts this historic race: “It was a very close race. D-MIRO stayed on top for most of the time and successfully completed the data submission process as the first MFI in this Initiative, despite having 9 loan products. We are delighted to announce 1st place for D-MIRO.”
Alejandro Macas, Executive Director of Fundación DECOF, expressed the importance of pricing transparency: “Transparency is essential so that the market has fair information and MFIs really have a social commitment. Our reaction to the news [being among the first participants] is one of pride and motivation to keep going and one that allows us to reaffirm our social commitment.”
FODEMI, completing their data submission right after Fundación DECOF in a standout performance, expresses their satisfaction with making it into the top three: “It is a pleasure for FODEMI to be one of the first three institutions presenting data, which confirms the fair allocation of prices to our products and our genuine commitment to help improve the quality of life of the most vulnerable sectors of our country,” said Rosa Roldan Robles, FODEMI’s Head of Credit and Portfolio.
Carlos Egas, CEO of D-MIRO congratulated MFTransparency for its Initiative: “We congratulate MFTransparency for this commendable initiative of making prices for microfinance products and services transparent around the world, which will benefit all who participate in this increasingly important sector of the economy.”
Who won? The Ecuadorian microfinance industry as a whole is winning, and will be the ultimate winner and beneficiary of this initiative. The race for transparency is on and we have the first places. These three leaders have earned their role as models for the rest of the MFIs yet to submit, paving the way for transparency in the Ecuadorian microfinance industry. The real win will be accomplished when the entire microfinance market has become transparent, creating a healthier environment for all stakeholders. In order to achieve this goal, it is vital that all microcredit providers participate by submitting data to MFTransparency. Recently, MFTransparency has also received complete data from Banco ProCredit and CREDIFE, while 7 other institutions are close to completing the data submission process. In the race for transparency, it is the future well-being of the sector and its customers at the finish line.
MicroFinance Transparency is an international non-governmental organization founded in 2008 with the purpose of facilitating transparent markets through the dissemination of true cost information to all market stakeholders. MFTransparency represents an industry movement toward fair practices and responsibility. Based in the United States, the group has organized transparent pricing efforts in Bosnia, Peru, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Bolivia and India. For more information please visit www.mftransparency.org. Grameen Bank’s Dr. Mohammad Yunus and Elizabeth Littlefield, CEO of CGAP, as well as more than 200 industry professionals and organizations have committed to transparent pricing by endorsing MFTransparency and its initiative. For information on MFTransparency staff, please see Who We Are.
The Transparent Pricing Initiative in Ecuador is sponsored by the
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