> Posted by Laura Galindo

When developing higher standards for client protection at financial institutions, it makes sense to take some time to listen.

In late 2008, Fundación Mundo Mujer Popayán—a Colombian MFI—was not exactly in the best shape. It was experiencing high delinquency rates and difficulties in collections and its clients were unsatisfied with the services offered. At the institutional level FMM Popayán did not have an established and well defined approach to staff ethics.  Examples of appropriate staff behavior were not described clearly in the documents used to train and guide staff.

A new Smart Note, released by the Smart Campaign, “Treating Clients with Respect at Fundación Mundo Mujer Popayán”, describes how the institution developed a stronger pro-client attitude. The organizations took time to listen to clients, collected their feedback and suggestions and used this information as guiding principles for developing new policies and procedures. The result is a set of complementary policies, that, unlike previous material, use specific problem situations to address potential weaknesses in client protection practices.

FMM Popayán’s new strategies were soon tested. The Smart Note focuses on the efforts taken by FMM Popayán at a time when Colombia experienced numerous floods that affected clients. The institution used its new humane collections approach to alleviate the difficulties encountered by flood-affected clients. A “one-size policy” was not in FMM Popayán´s agenda. On the contrary, FMM Popayán´s senior level managers decided that the actions taken would be customized from individual to individual. Time constraints were not an issue, and FMM Popayán´s staff was determined to reach their clients (even if it took rowing a boat to get there) and make decisions based on the individual client’s situation.

To learn more about FMM Popayán´s pro-client strategies please download the Smart Note!

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