Oikocredit Committed to Client Welfare

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, June 14, 2013 /CNW/ - Social investor and worldwide cooperative, Oikocredit, today released its social performance results for 2012 at the annual general meeting in Cambodia. The social results reflect data reported to Oikocredit by over 634 organizations, reaffirming the commitment of Oikocredit's partners to social goals and performance.

At 31 December 2012, Oikocredit's development financing portfolio was € 530 million, with € 420 million invested in microfinance and the remainder in social enterprises including fair trade and agricultural cooperatives.

Through Oikocredit's microfinance partners, 28 million people were reached in 2012, an increase of 11% from 2011. Of the total number of microfinance borrowers, 24% were agricultural, 56% lived in rural areas and 84% were women.

The social performance results showed that 59% of microfinance partners endorsed the client protection principles in 2012, up from 50% the previous year. During 2012, 38 partners began using the Progress out of Poverty Index, taking total number of Oikocredit partners using the tool to 70.

Positive social results

Oikocredit director social performance, Ms Ging Ledesma, said the results were positive, showing the continued commitment of Oikocredit's partners to client welfare.

"The data clearly shows that our partners are reaching their target clients and more are implementing industry tools that guarantee improved outcomes for clients," Ms Ledesma said.

Throughout 2012, Oikocredit funded over 100 capacity building initiatives and began the second phase of its social performance mentoring programme for microfinance institutions. During the year, the programme spanned six countries and will be developed in another four countries in 2013.

Microfinance institutions involved in this programme have reported changes in policies, operations and improvements in key result areas such as outreach and portfolio at risk.

Outlook 2013

In the coming year, Oikocredit will continue its social performance management strategy in selecting new partners as well as assisting existing partners to build capacity and perform both financially and socially.

Oikocredit will continue its strategic focus on Africa, agriculture and inclusive finance in 2013, as well as measuring, monitoring and reporting outcomes at client levels.

Ms Ledesma said avoiding client over-indebtedness and maintaining responsible returns and interest rates charged by partners will continue to be closely monitored.

"With Oikocredit reaching more partners and countries than other privately funded investors in the microfinance sector, we look forward to bringing partners together to share best practices," added Ms Ledesma.

Oikocredit is one of the world's largest sources of private funding to the microfinance sector, providing credit and equity to small businesses through microfinance institutions across the developing world and directly to trade cooperatives, fair trade organizations and small to medium enterprises.

SOURCE: Oikocredit

For further information:

Press contacts: Oikocredit International: Kawien Ziedses des Plantes, kziedsesdesplantes@oikocredit.org, +31-(0)6-272-549-04. Oikocredit USA: Sharlene Brown, usa@oikocredit.org, +1-202-728-41-40. Oikocredit UK & Ireland: Patrick Hynes, uk@oikocredit.org, +44-(0)1995-602806. Oikocredit Canada: Eugene Ellmen, eellmen@oikocredit.org, +1-416-996-2392.

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