1,200 low-income entrepreneurs improve their homes thanks to support from Microserfin

30 January 2014
  • Through CASAFIN, an innovative financial product aimed at helping low-income entrepreneurs adapt their homes to provide the best facilities for their business
  • In Panamá, 50% of families with incomes of less than 300 and 600 dollars a month have a shortage of housing, and this is the profile of the entrepreneurs targeted by Microserfin.
  • The CASAFIN product includes a complete program of technical building assistance throughout the whole of the remodelling process.

1,200 low-income entrepreneurs in Panama have been able to remodel their homes to adapt them ideally to the needs of their businesses thanks to the CASAFIN product, a program supporting access to housing loans which was rolled out by Microserfin in 2012 with an investment of over $1.2 million.

CASAFIN targets low-income entrepreneurs who have their business or productive activity set up in their own home, or those who have opted to transfer their travelling sales business to their own homes.

CASAFIN is an innovative and differential product as, in addition to the loan, it includes a program of technical building assistance (ATC) based on a set of activities designed to stimulate, support and guide customers in successfully converting their homes for business use.

Throughout the whole process, customers are supported by technicians who help identify the needs for improvement in the works to be done through a progressive plan to establish priorities; they also advise customers on matters of safety, drainage, comfort, and adapted functionality suited to the running of their business. In addition to training, the program also includes the delivery of printed teaching materials (plan, budget, construction guides), as well as negotiation with building material suppliers.

According to the General Manager of Microserfin, Gissele de Domínguez, “The CASAFIN program is producing excellent results in our customers who have made use of it. Customers can see how by remodelling their homes to adapt them to their businesses, they can increase production, create better products, and insure increased sales and profits, thereby improving their well-being and that of their family”.

“CASAFIN is a reaffirmatin of Microserfin’s commitment to promoting sustainable and inclusive economic and social development for low-income individuals in Panama through Productive Finance, our specialty and methodology”, said Gissele de Domínguez.

Casafin was created through a Technical Cooperation Agreement with the Inter-American Development Bank (BID).

Microserfin currently serves over 13,000 entrepreneurs, of which 48% are women, and has made loans for a value of $60 million for the development of productive activities, with an average loan of around $1200. Today it has 16 branch offices and a network of over 225 service points.

Microserfin is the only institution in Panama that is part of the 100 best microfinance businesses in Latin America and the Caribbean, according to Mix Market-FOMIN.