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Sharing Experiences And Best Practices On Village Banks In Southern Laos
December 31st, 2016 | 08:17 AM | 1088 views
A Vietnamese delegation visited Southern Laos from Dec 7 – 12 to learn about the best practices for village banks from the ‘Access to Finance for the Poor’ (AFP) project, which is being implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaftfür Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.
The Vietnamese delegation was headed by Dr. Hoang Phu My, Deputy Chief of the Planning and Techniques Department of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) of Vietnam and included technical staff from the Ministry, authorities of three Vietnamese provinces, and representatives from KfW Development Bank.
The objective of this study tour is to learn about AFP’s approach towards setting up village banks, the importance of continuous support for the community institutions, as well as inherent challenges and opportunities.
The delegation was able to visit two Network Support Organisations (NSOs), a number of supported village banks, and financial literacy trainings in the provinces of Attapeu and Champassak.
Afterwards, the delegation joined a high-level workshop on good credit management at the Bank of Lao PDR (BoL) branch in Champassak Province, which was chaired by its Acting Director, Mr. Viengsavanh Xayavong.
During a following exchange with authorities of the Champassak Provincial Office of Rural Development and Poverty Alleviation, the delegation learned more about the importance of the different types of village funds for financial inclusion in rural Laos. Over the course of the mission, a vivid discussion on appropriate interest rates for credit products evolved.
Mr. Khammon Sitthideth, Manager of the Savings and Credit Union Champa Patthana, explained that the AFP project’s approach is based on savings generated by the communities themselves.
Therefore, village bank members decide on their own interest rates, which usually vary between 1-4% per month.
It is crucial that these rates are set sufficiently high enough to attract savings, but also to cover costs of operations and default.
This condition is set appropriately, which can be seen in the high demand for credit, low default rates, and was also reported by borrowers who enjoyed the convenient application process.
The exchange, which was facilitated by GIZ and KfW, was well perceived by all participants.
Dr. Hoang Phu My thanked BoL and GIZ for this study tour and expressed his interest in further exchanges to advance financial inclusion in Southeast Asia.
Building on more than ten years of experience, the AFP project pursues the overall objective of enabling the rural population to make better use of sustainable financial services.
The project, which is financed by the governments of Germany and Australia as well as the mining company MMG LXML Sepon, is under the supervision of the Bank of the Lao PDR.
To date, the project successfully serves 529 village banks in six provinces which manage 58,173 active accounts.
The value of accumulated savings exceeds 102 billion LAK (over US$12.5 million). More than 18,500 members are currently borrowing 93 billion LAK and village banks hold total assets of 120 billion LAK.
The total assets of 7 NSOs amount to 28 billion LAK, while their total loan portfolio adds up to 11 billion kip.
courtesy of KPL NEWS AGENCY
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