Caja Nuestra Gente, the best microfinance institution in Latin America and the Caribbean

Caja Rural de Ahorro y Crédito Nuestra Gente, part of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation in Peru, has been named the Best Microfinance Institution in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2011, as part of the top 100 list compiled by Mix Market, the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) and the Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN).

The report, entitled “Microfinance America: the top 100”, puts Caja Nuestra Gente in the top spot for Latin America and the Caribbean, in recognition of its ability to reach out to the most underprivileged segments, its significant growth in loans to micro-businesses (46%) in 2011 and active participation in deposits as part of its financial services.

Caja Nuestra Gente provides Peru’s poorest sectors, where opportunities are scarce, with the chance to access credit and financial services, allowing them to undertake productive activities and improve their own quality of life and that of their families.

The bank has a community-based rural focus, and currently supports 321,000 low-income customers via its 116 branches and 1,520 employees, operating from Tumbes to Tacna, particularly in remote rural areas where microfinance is still scarce.

Caja Nuestra Gente develops specialized financial products and services that cater to the needs of these segments, based on their productive activities and lifestyles in each location. Highlights include specialized credit made available to shoe-shiners, ice-cream sellers, agro-export workers in the north of the country, farm laborers and the alpacaca breeders that are so characteristic of the country.

Another standout aspect is Caja Nuestra Gente’s work to strengthen production chains in poorer regions, providing credit to smallholders with few resources, to help them get their ventures underway. Caja Nuestra Gente is promoting numerous projects in the agricultural and livestock industries, in businesses such as the production of cocoa, olives, herbs, milk and dairy.

BBVA Microfinance Foundation: 1,000,000 customers served

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to promote the sustainable economic and social development of the disadvantaged in society by providing access to productive microfinance.

Since its inauguration in 2007, by Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, the Foundation has developed a portfolio of 1,000,000 active clients (three million in accumulated social impact), via its eight microfinance institutions in Latin America: Banco de las Microfinanzas-Bancamía in Colombia; Caja de Nuestra Gente and Financiera Confianza in Peru; Fondo Esperanza and Emprende Microfinanzas in Chile; Servicios Microfinancieros in Argentina; Corporación para las Microfinanzas in Puerto Rico and Microserfin in Panama.

These institutions have provided an accumulated 2,500 million euros in loans, with an average of 800 euros per loan. Such finance gives those without access to conventional financial systems, whose chances for development are limited, the opportunity to undertake productive activities and improve their own quality of life and that of their families.