Good corporate governance is a key factor in the governance of microfinance institutions

1 October 2015
Financiera Confianza

The BBVA Microfinance Foundation organized the 8th Training Workshop in Corporate Governance for Microfinance Institutions (MFI), as part of its initiatives to help transform the microfinance sector. The workshop focuses on the principles of good governance and best practices, the roles, responsibilities and operation of the different bodies, and self-diagnosis.

Good corporate governance helps ensure effective management and administration, takes into account the demands of the different stakeholders, contributes to improving the reputation and integrity of the microfinance institution (MFI) –which in turn adds to its trustworthiness and transparency–, and fosters confidence in the customers, investors and society as a whole. The Foundation runs workshops centered on corporate governance that are open to the entire sector, and aimed at MFI board members. By the end of 2015, almost 400 people from over 200 Latin American MFIs will have taken part in its nine editions in Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and the Dominican Republic.

The latest edition of this themed workshop took place in Peru on 24 and 25 September 2015, in collaboration with the Peruvian Association of Microfinance Institutions (ASOMIF), and was attended by directors, managers and executives from 14 institutions from ASOMIF, including “edipymes” (development bodies for small and microenterprises), rural savings banks, municipal savings and loan banks, and financial institutions, with a total of 49 participants.

A high standard of good governance is a key factor in regulating companies, and ensures their continuity and good management, in addition to generating value. They must also have mechanisms and structures to avoid asymmetries of information, conflicts of interest and ethical problems.

The workshop teaching sessions explore the concept of good corporate governance and its principles and functions, and the consequences of good or poor corporate governance. Other themes include the problem of agency, and the dual mission and its impact on governability (with reference to SPTF and MIX indicators).

The governing bodies of institutions are responsible for supervising the implementation of a solid and sound corporate governance and for reviewing its operation. Training in best practices contributes to more effective internal control (risks and auditing) and allows greater regulatory and ethical compliance (code of conduct).

The Training Workshops in Corporate Governance for MFIs run by the Foundation therefore provide recommendations for the proper operation of the governing bodies in areas such as their composition and renewal, selection, appointments, remuneration, committee structure, informational transparency and customer protection (Smart Campaign).

The Foundation has compiled a “Practical guide to adopting the principles of good governance in MFIs” for use by the microfinance sector, which lists the principles of regulation that should be included in any code of good governance according to internationally accepted standards and good practices. This reference document enables these bodies to make a self-diagnosis of their corporate governance based on 48 indicators, and is reviewed and completed during the workshop.

The workshops serve as a forum for reflecting on the tools for improving governability, where participants are also able to test the real situation of their institutions thanks to BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s self-diagnosis, and to the self-assessment questionnaire from the Superintendence of Banking, Insurance and Pension Fund Administrators (SBS).

In the eighth edition of the workshop, Myriam Córdova, Microfinance Director at the SBS, outlined the work done by the Superintendence to encourage good corporate governance in MFIs. She particularly mentioned the self-assessment form –implemented in 2013 in regulated MFIs as a prior tool and a form of monitoring the annual progress of each institution–, and the new Corporate Governance and Risk Regulation, which can be consulted on its website until 2 October 2015.

The 8th Training Workshop in Corporate Governance for MFIs was held in the Training Center at the SBS.

The next workshop will take place in Colombia in conjunction with Banca de las Oportunidades on 22 and 23 October 2015. More information at FMBBVA Corporate Governance Workshop.