Actualidad Colombia

Creating a Registry of Microfinance Institutions

Draft decree from the Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism

The Colombian Government’s Ministry of Trade, Industry & Tourism has published for public consultation a draft of its Decree to create a Registry of Microfinance Institutions (MFIs).

The purpose of the Registry is to encourage institutions that grant microloans and receive the MSME rate [Comisión Mipyme] to run mentoring activities, follow-up and financial education for business, to verify that they are providing business people with training that is sufficient, timely and clear so as to ease their path to microcredit. Current microcredit regulation sets the maximum per transaction at 25 MMW (about COP19,530,000 = EUR 5,550).

Under current regulation, the MSME rate, that includes both fees and commissions, can be charged by financial intermediaries and organizations specializing in business microlending. Specialist expert advice given to the micro-entrepreneur is paid for by the fees, which also cover the trips that must be made to check on the status of the business activity; commissions, meanwhile, reward the work done on studying the credit transaction, verifying co-debtors’ references and specialized loan collections.

The proposals in the draft regulation include the following:

  • The aims of the MFI Registry, which include: public access to consult up-to-date information about these institutions, the option to compare the terms and conditions applying to the services they offer, etc.
  • Explanation of the procedure for filing on the Registry and how often the information needs to be updated
  • Elimination of the commission and fee charged on microloans for sums above 25 SMLMV
  • Commercial paper and, in general, credit transaction documents must indicate the rates charged for fees and commissions, together with the form of payment (whether at the time of disbursement, or later)
  • Institutions will be required to provide entrepreneurs the possibility of receiving advisory services, mentoring, business-oriented financial education and other activities, if they are charging fees and commissions