Queen Letizia visits the BBVA Microfinance Foundation to learn about its activities

  • Francisco González, chairman of BBVA, presented Queen Letizia with the 2015 Social Impact Report, containing a summary of the Foundation’s activities in the seven Latin American countries in which it works to support vulnerable people and help them rise out of poverty.
  • The BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA) is a philanthropic initiative with a powerful social impact: it serves 1.7 million customers and improves the lives of almost 7 million people. The United Nations has recently recognized its contribution to the fight against poverty and gender inequality, and its support for decent work and economic growth.

Queen Letizia expressed her interest in the work of the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (FMBBVA) and took part in a work meeting with Francisco González, the BBVA chairman, Javier Flores, the Foundation’s CEO, the trustees, headed by its president Claudio Gonzalez -Vega, and the heads of each area, who explained how the FMBBVA supports low-income individuals and entrepreneurs who start up small businesses to improve their future.

Francisco González presented Queen Letizia with the 2015 Social Impact Report. Measuring what really matters, which analyzes the entrepreneurs’ activity and performance by studying the profile of the customers and their businesses, and their progressive economic and social development. This report has become a benchmark for good practices in the microfinance sector.

The BBVA chairman pointed out that “the BBVA Microfinance Foundation was created within the framework of the Group’s Social Responsibility, with the mission of promoting the sustainable and inclusive social and economic development of underprivileged individuals. This mission is in line with our goal of making all the many opportunities of this new era available to everyone”.

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation is currently one of the leading philanthropic initiatives in terms of social impact in Latin America: it serves 1.7 million customers and its work improves the lives of 7 million people in Colombia, Peru, Dominican Republican, Chile, Panama, Argentina and Puerto Rico.

83% of the small entrepreneurs it serves are poor or vulnerable, and the majority are women. The Foundation has specific programs both for these women and for the homeless, refugees, ex-prisoners and indigenous populations.

Its work had been recognized by the United Nations for its contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (ODS) aimed at eradicating poverty, and supporting growth, decent work and gender equality, among others.

The FMBBVA offers entrepreneurs a customized service model, traveling to their businesses and homes and advising them throughout the whole development process in areas such as administration, financial management, adapting their facilities and production and material costs.

Relevant data from the 2015 Social Impact Report. Measuring what really matters

  • 32,5% of the entrepreneurs who were in a situation of poverty when they joined cease to be poor after two years with the Foundation, and three years later, their sales increase by 57%.
  • 83% of FMBBVA customers are poor or vulnerable.

Since its creation in 2007, the FMBBVA has delivered total loans worth 7,2 billion dollars to almost 5 million vulnerable entrepreneurs.

It has a unique and differential model with two strategic lines of activity: on the one hand, the creation of a group of sustainable microfinance institutions in Latin America, and on the other, the development of initiatives that promote the transformation of the microfinance sector.

917,186 of its customers have loans with one of the FMBBVA’s eight microfinance institutions, and 61% of them are women. 83% are poor or vulnerable, and have average incomes of 3.54 dollars a day. Their activity generates a net per capita income of less than three times the poverty threshold in their country.

30% live in rural areas and 47% have only primary education at most. 57% are engaged in the retail trade (commerce, mobile food stalls, dressmaking and others) and their businesses generate an average income of 1,512 dollars a month.

The progress of small entrepreneurs served by the BBVA Microfinance Foundation is particularly significant. The sales of the customers that remain with the Foundation’s institutions grow at an annual rate of 16%, and 30% for assets. 32% of the customers that joined in a situation of poverty were able to rise out of that condition after two years, and although they continue to be exposed, it has been shown that the longer they have the support of the institutions the less vulnerable they are.

The Foundation operates in seven countries, through eight institutions: Bancamía (Colombia), Financiera Confianza (Peru), Banco Adopem (Dominican Republic), Fondo Esperanza (Chile), Emprende Microfinanzas (Chile), Microserfin (Panama), Contigo Microfinanzas (Argentina) and Corporación para las Microfinanzas (Puerto Rico).