Lending responsibly is a fundamental element of any MFIs’ activities as they work with communities where financial literacy might not be widespread and where small, family-run businesses might be less resilient than larger businesses to economic downturns or challenges. The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles aim to make sure that clients’ loans are working for them and safeguard their financial future. Amret is one of the seven MFIs in Cambodia certified by the Smart Campaign, it received its first certification in 2016 before it was further renewed in 2019.
An Amret client, Mr Moun Rab, shared his experience of borrowing with Amret. A 49-year-old cassava farmer in Banteay Meanchey province Mr Rab took out his first loan from Amret in 2014 as a member of a Solidarity Credit group. In line with the principle of prevention of over-indebtedness, the maximum amount he could borrow at that time was a small loan of 1,000,000 riels ($250), which he invested in his farm.
“Before giving me a loan, Amret’s staff always carefully explain the loan conditions and repayment methods and often give me useful tips on business planning. After receiving my first loan, I was also invited to join their Financial Literacy Education program,” Mr. Rab says. The detailed explanations given by Amret loan officers to Mr Rab on loan conditions and repayment methods demonstrate Amret’s transparency in offering products.
“My fortunes changed for the better in 2017. I was invited to join a workshop organized by Amret on cassava growing and fertilizer use, where I learned about new techniques and improved farming methods. By using the techniques, the trainers told us about, I harvested 40 to 50 percent more cassava than last season, and made a profit of around $375 a hectare”, Mr. Rab says. Financial literacy and technical workshops are an example of the fair and respectful treatment of clients that the MFI has committed to.
Amret’s client centric approach ensures that client’s interests and the success of their loans are at the heart of its operations.