> Posted by the Smart Campaign

Smart Campaign Certification SealThe Smart Campaign is proud to announce that today marks the official program launch of Client Protection Certification! Managed by the Smart Campaign, the Client Protection Certification program gives providers of financial services for low-income people the ability to demonstrate that they take adequate care to protect their clients.

Certification – created both for and by the industry – represents an important milestone in the evolution of microfinance as a uniquely client-focused portion of the global financial sector. “There has been widespread demand for mechanisms that protect microfinance clients. This is the first program that verifies client protection publicly,” said Smart Campaign Managing Director Isabelle Barres.

The Client Protection Certification Program contains a rigorous set of standards against which institutions are evaluated. The standards address the client protection elements inherent to receiving fair treatment while doing business with a financial institution. You might remember our covering some of these standards and indicators in our recent Straight Talk on Client Protection blog series.

Evaluations are conducted on-site by third-party certifiers licensed by the Smart Campaign. Micro-Credit Ratings International Ltd., MicroFinanza Rating, MicroRate, and Planet Rating are already signed on to be certifiers. We envision licensing more organizations to become certifiers too, given they meet the licensing criteria. With the support of these inaugural certifiers, the program certified a handful of financial institutions as part of its pilot phase. These institutions can be found on the Smart Campaign website, here. All organizations that become licensed will be listed on the Campaign website.

The certification program was designed through a highly consultative process involving stakeholders from across the microfinance and consumer protection industries. The Campaign is grateful for the support certification has received, throughout its development.

For more on the Client Protection Certification Program, including information on how to get certified, visit the new certification section of the Smart Campaign website. The full listing of the client protection certification standards is also available on the campaign website, here.