This meeting took place within the series of conferences that the King and Queen are implementing since the beginning of the pandemic to learn about the situation and the impact of the health crisis on the different sectors of society, enterprises and institutions.
This morning, H.M. Queen Letizia met with the BBVA Microfinance Foundation through a videoconference, to discuss the current situation in Latin America and the measures that the Foundation has implemented to mitigate the pandemic’s impact on the 2.2 million entrepreneurs it serves.
The BBVAMF’s CEO, Javier M. Flores, conveyed to Doña Letizia that the Foundation has adapted its measures according to the COVID-19’s evolution in the five Latin-American countries where it is present. All of them are aligned with its three current strategic priorities: the health of the entrepreneurs and the 8,500 employees in its institutions; supporting the entrepreneurs and guaranteeing the continuity of the financial activity, considered essential in all of the countries; and to assure the sustainability of the operations, to comply with its social purpose, which is the sustainable development of people in vulnerable conditions who own productive activities.
Talent and Culture director at BBVMF, José Martín, shared how the advances in digital transformation in these past years have allowed almost 100% of central services departments, as well as an important part of the sales network to work from home, keeping the least number of personnel in the offices and strengthening the digital assistance channels.
On her part, the Foundation’s Impact Assessment and Strategic Development director Stephanie G. Van Gool, has informed the Queen that the pandemic’s impact on the entrepreneurs’ businesses is already being measured, while also being assisted by their microfinance officers through personalized attention.
The social performance indicators developed by the BBVAMF, which has been acknowledged by the OECD this January as the second philanthropic institution for its contribution to development, next only to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, enable the BBVAMF to adapt its strategy according to its needs.
Among the measures applied by its microfinance institutions (MFI), the most important ones are offering grace periods of up to 90 days, as well as loan restructuring according to the individual circumstances of each entrepreneur.
“The MFIs are behind the entrepreneurs, supporting them more than ever, helping them overcome the most trying moments”
Along with the local financial authorities, the MFIs are also working on making public support to entrepreneurs more accessible. Moreover, new credit lines such as seed capital are being contemplated to help the most affected ones, considering that most of them would have to start anew. BBVAMF’s CEO guaranteed during the videoconference that “the MFIs are behind the entrepreneurs, supporting them more than ever, helping them overcome the most trying moments.”
The Latin American and Caribbean region has exceeded 250,000 infections, registering more than 14,000 deaths. According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the economic slowdown caused by this crisis could increase regional poverty from 185 million people to 220 million, whose total population is 650 million.
This meeting with the BBVA Microfinance Foundation took place within the series of conferences that the King and Queen are implementing since the beginning of the pandemic to learn about the situation and the impact of the health crisis on the different sectors of society, enterprises and institutions.