Phnom Penh, May 5, 2016: – The Smart Campaign, a global initiative to incorporate strong client-protection practices into the microfinance industry has publicly recognized VisionFund Cambodia as Client Protection Certified for meeting strong standards of client care. The recognition is supported by funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) under the “Client Protection Initiative” project which is implemented by Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA).
Client Protection Initiative is aiming to contribute to the stability and promotion of responsible finance with a view to ensuring a sustainable growth for the microfinance sector in Cambodia. The main objective of Client Protection is to fight against the risk of clients’ over-indebtedness. Through a strong support from CMA and outlined from Smart Campaign, VisionFund Cambodia has well implemented the seven principles of Client Protection.
“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to VisionFund Cambodia,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “Their willingness to do the work it takes to prepare for and undergo the intensive process of evaluation is indicative of their deep commitment to their clients. They have shown that this bar is achievable in the area of client protection. Their example will catalyze a movement towards certification within the broader industry.”
The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Certification program publicly recognizes those institutions providing financial services to low-income households whose standards of care uphold the Smart Campaign’s seven Client Protection Principles. These principles cover such important areas such as pricing, transparency, fair and respectful treatment and prevention of over-indebtedness.
In order to meet client protection principles outlined by Smart Campaign, VisionFund Cambodia worked under the overall coordination of CMA and AFD with the Technical Assistant from Smart Campaign and Good Return in providing technical assistance in the area of financial client protection, poverty measurement, reporting and financial capacity development of clients.
“We have always held a strong commitment to protecting our clients, this independent validation lends credibility and demonstrates to our community and our industry that we continue to work every day to improve our service and our commitment to best practices in microfinance,” said Ms Top Sok Samphea, COO of VisionFund Cambodia. She added that “I am very proud to get such prestigious certification and also very proud of our staff. This is to show that we care much for our clients.”
ABOUT VISIONFUND CAMBODIA
VisionFund is a social leading Microfinance Institution (MFI) in Cambodia and the only licensed Microfinance institution that has a global network of more than 30 countries with mission to brighter future for children, empower families to create income and jobs, and unlock economic potential for communities to thrive.
As of April 2016, VisionFund Cambodia has 111 provincial and district branches covering in 25 provinces, 144 districts, and 1,550 communes. We employed over 1,500 highly trained employees and maintained a loan portfolio of over US$133 million. We serve over 260,000 borrowers mainly in rural communities. VisionFund Cambodia has contributed to numerous communities and educational projects in Cambodia as a result more than 840,000 children have been positively impacted.
ABOUT CAMBODIAN MICROFINANCE ASSOCIATION (CMA)
The Cambodian Microfinance Association is an NGO and professional association that aims to ensure the prosperity and sustainability of the microfinance sector in Cambodia. CMA plays a vital role in creating local and international networks as well as seeking equity and loan funds, new technologies and overseeing conflict resolution between microfinance operators, visit: www.cma-network.org
ABOUT THE SMART CAMPAIGN
The Smart Campaign aims to improve client protection in microfinance through better understanding and use of client protection principles by microfinance institutions (MFIs). Certification of MFIs is one of the primary activities of the Campaign. The Client Protection Certification Program is possible because of partnership with the MasterCard Foundation, Ford Foundation, the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Fund a (member of the IDB group) and microfinance pioneer Accion. It has been shaped through cooperation with dozens of supporting organizations, notably the Smart Campaign’s co-founder, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP). For further information, visit www.smartcampaign.org.
ABOUT FRENCH DEVELOPMENT AGENCY (AFD)
AFD is a public development finance institution 100% hold by French State that has been working to fight poverty and foster economic growth in developing country and overseas territories for more than seventy years. In Cambodia since 1993, AFD has been supporting the microfinance sector as from the beginning for an accessible and inclusive finance, visit: www.afd.fr/lang/eng
ABOUT GOOD RETURN (GR)
Established in 2003, Good Return is a non-profit organization that works across the Asia Pacific to deliver economic and social development programs for the financially and socially excluded. Sharing with others the vision of a world without poverty, Good Return is proud to be one of the leading supporters of financial inclusion across the Asia Pacific region. Good Return partners with Financial Service Providers, Microfinance Associations and Financial Sector Regulators to research, design and implement game changing initiatives for the poor, visit: www.programs.goodreturn.org.au