Coinciding with European Microfinance Day, the Foundation has taken part in an encounter focused on the role of microfinance as a driver of employment in support of the financial inclusion of groups in a situation of vulnerability or that have difficulties overcoming the barriers to basic financial services. The event was attended by over thirty representatives of microfinance stakeholder groups in Spain.
“The result of our activity confirm that financial products and services tailored to the needs of underprivileged entrepreneurs help improve their living conditions and those of their close family environment, and lead to the personal development of our customers and the advancement of their businesses” said Giovanni Di Plácido, director of Studies and Strategy at the BBVA Microfinance Foundation, in his talk at the meeting. The BBVA Microfinance Foundation currently serves over 1.6 million customers in seven countries in Latin America, 85% of whom are vulnerable, and almost half are in a situation of poverty or extreme poverty.
30% of impoverished customers who joined the bank emerged from this situation two years after accessing the Foundation through any of its eight microfinance institutions. The customers’ businesses enjoyed a growth in sales of 25% year-on-year, and a 57% growth in their assets, and around 10% go from being an enterprise run by a single person to generating jobs.
According to Di Plácido, “Financial inclusion means that households and small businesses have access to appropriate, responsible and sustainable financial services that generate a positive impact on people and/or enterprises, in a well-regulated environment. It also promotes an inclusive financial system which results in a larger scale and scope for the banks themselves”.
“Our experience in different markets has taught us that to develop the sector in Spain we need to advance toward a legal and institutional framework, according to best practices”, explained Di Plácido.
Within the debate on the need for microfinance institutions to measure the results of their activity, Di Plácido highlighted the differentiating feature of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation which “has developed its own system of social measuring based on a series of social and economic metrics. Each year, under the title “Measuring what really matters”, it publishes its Performance Report containing a summary of the main indicators that reveal the impact of its activity.
The guests on the panel included Silvia Consuegra, head of Self-employment, Entrepreneurship and Studies at the ICO Foundation; Marta García Mandaloniz, Vice-dean of Law and ADE at the Carlos III University; Ana Gorostegui, director of the Enterprise Area at the Tomillo Foundation; Carmen Pérez, director of the Nantik Lum Foundation; and Agustín Vitórica, founding member and CEO of GAWA Capital.