2018 was a year of growth and development for the Advans Group. Our nine subsidiaries continued to expand their operations, reaching out to clients with little or no access to financial services. We concentrated on developing our outreach, improving our customer service and innovating to increase convenience for clients. Our new brand confirmed our status as a leading international microfinance group. Here are a few examples of how we delivered on our key strategic objectives:
We were able to significantly increase our outreach in Myanmar with our youngest subsidiary showing its high potential to increase financial inclusion in the country. Advans Myanmar hit the 10,000 clients milestone in April after just one year of operations. At the end of the year, the number of clients using Advans Myanmar’s individual, group and village banking products had more than doubled.
We also celebrated 10 years of commitment to responsible microfinance in Ghana with Advans Ghana demonstrating its accumulated experience and impact. The institution has disbursed over 125,000 loans since its launch and created a network of 19 branches with mobile banking, field teller and call centre services to increase its proximity to clients. Today it serves over 50,000 clients: a recent survey indicated that 93% of clients felt Advans services had a positive impact on their lives.
Expanding into rural areas being one of our key focuses for the years to come, we continued to develop our agri-finance offer, with a successful pilot of agricultural loans in Tunisia.
We were recognised for the impact of our digital innovation in Cote d’Ivoire with Advans Côte d’Ivoire winning the European Microfinance Award in November for its mobile banking solution for cocoa farmers and cooperatives. In 2017, 188 cooperatives used our services, representing over 14,000 farmers.
Finally, we were able to keep up a high level of performance in Cambodia, with Amret continuing its growth while maintaining an excellent level of portfolio quality thanks to its responsible lending practices. The institution was able to deploy its Amret+ strategy to adapt to a changing market and continue to take new opportunities to better serve its clients.
In 2019, we aim to leverage on the expertise and strong foundations we’ve built over the last decade. We will continue to reinforce our leading position through focusing on the sustainable growth of our subsidiaries, putting clients at the centre of everything we do and seizing opportunities to increase our efficiency and proximity to clients with new technologies. We aim to pursue our growth in our markets with the milestones of 1 million clients and €1 billion outstanding loan portfolio in view.
Some key figures from the year:
890,000 clients in total at end 2018
Over 300,000 loans disbursed by our subsidiaries in 2018
Over 180,000 deposit accounts opened by our subsidiaries in 2018