The MFI of the Advans network share common values, goals and best practices.
Wide banking product range for everyone
Any person who has a revenue-generating activity is welcome to apply for a loan from an Advans institution. The client base is made up of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) which have limited or no access to formal financial services. These can vary in size from individual entrepreneurs to companies with up to 50 employees. Loans can be as little as 50 euros or as much as tens of thousands of euros depending on the country and the clientele segment.
Advans institutions offer a simple yet complete set of financial services (loans, savings, means of payment, money transfers) with a clear focus on loan products, for which the unmet demand is the most critical, given the inability of most traditional players to extend loans to MSMEs. Whenever the legislation and regulatory framework allows it, Advans institutions are created as fully licensed banks in order to provide a full range of services to their clients.
Proximity with the client
A close client relationship is a key element of the Advans business model. Most Advans institutions’ clients have had no previous banking relationship and produce very little, and often unreliable, financial information. In order to build trust with their customers and offer them tailored financial services, the staff at Advans institutions spend a significant amount of time with each of them : at their business premises in order to understand the business, or at the branch to define their needs for savings products. When a loan is disbursed, a large amount of time is dedicated to follow up visits and repayment monitoring.
The amount of time dedicated to each customer means that the institutions require a high number of well-trained loan officers and client advisors to build up their portfolio of clients. In order to cover these operating costs and achieve sustainability despite their relatively low average loan size, Advans institutions have to charge interest rates higher than traditional banks in similar markets.
Staff development and recruitment
Staff development is key to the viability of the activities, fostering growth and guaranteeing the quality of the services provided.
A strong emphasis is therefore put on in-house and external training, specifically during inception training and through exposure missions to other financial institutions within the network. Advans institutions also encourage long term collaboration with their staff through competitive performance-based income packages and a motivating and healthy working environment.
Shared methods and technologies
Advans SA, through its technical partner Horus, defines and selects common methods and tools for the whole Advans network. This applies specifically to management information systems. A banking software adapted to the needs of microfinance institutions and microbanks was selected as the common platform for the Advans network. The network also benefits from Horus' extensive technical experience in microfinance and research on new technologies, to broaden its outreach. Innovative solutions such as mobile banking, e-banking, smart cards are being implemented within the network.
Horus provides technical support to all Advans institutions during their start-up phase. By drawing upon its extensive experience in microfinance operations, Horus helps the institution to build its capacity and provide effective financial services in a sustainable way. It seconds a management team whose objective is to bring the institution to operational and financial sustainability within the first few years of activity and most importantly to train local staff until they are able to take management roles in the institution.
Environmental and social policy
As a responsible member of the microfinance industry, the Advans group does not only consider the economic impact of its operations but also takes into account the specific social and environmental issues prevailing when dealing with MSMEs in developing and emerging countries. The following guidelines are enforced in all of the Advans Institutions.
Comply with local regulations and identify relevant social and environmental issues relating to operations
Respect fundamental human and social principles, based on International Conventions
Increase awareness of environmental issues among employees and clients in order to reduce negative environmental impact
Constantly seek to improve social and environmental practices
In addition, Advans SA has defined a list of activities with negative social and environmental impact, which must not be financed by Advans institutions.
Anti-money laundering principles
Advans SA follows the Wolfsberg Principles and FATF Rules for the purpose of preventing the group from becoming an instrument for money laundering, the financing of terrorist activities, fraud or other corrupt or illegal purposes or practices.
Before any investment or fund raising, Advans SA applies AML-CFT (Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism) due diligence measures on the target financial institution and its shareholders. This also applies to Advans SA's potential co-investors, and institution/people selling shares in a financial institution to Advans SA. A specific policy is also enforced in each Advans institution to prevent money laundering and the financing of illegal activities.
Last modified on: 20 Apr 2012