ClientProtection is a “cornerstone” for the sustainable development of Microfinance institutions: Straton Habyalimana
By Felibien H.Tuza.
AMIR this morning was in a “live” TV Talk show: Waramutse Rwanda, for a strategic media debate on #clientprotection. we thank Straton Habyalimana for the clarifications made and answers given to the talkshow viewers. Mr. Habyarimana is the Senior Programs Manager of the Responsible Finance through Local Leadership and Learning (RFL3) program. we thank also Waramutse Rwanda ‘s presenters: Gloriose MUKAMABANO and Andrew KABERA for making this talkshow more interactive by involving clients and financial service providers across the country. the concerns raised by clients from #RubavuDistrict and the manager of Imbaraga #MF in #Rusizi will be basically taken into consideration for the implementation of YEAR 2/ #RFL3. The ultimate goal for this talkshow was about clarifying roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in #ClientProtection. (Partners, Financial Service Providers and Clients of #MFIs).
All of the questions/ concerns raised in this TV talkshow, revolve around the seven principles of #ConsumerProtection. this is a “Call for Action” for not only #AMIR but also for partners including media to proactively joint efforts in preserving the rights of consumers of Microfinance Institutions. According to Straton Habyalimana #ClientProtection is a cornerstone for the sustainable development of Microfinance institutions.
The 7 #ClientProtectionPrinciples include:
1. Appropriate product design and delivery
2• Prevention of over-indebtedness
4• Responsible pricing
5• Fair and respectful treatment of clients
6• Privacy of client data
7• Mechanisms for complaint resolution
About the #RFL3 program:
Some of the most persistent constraints in low-income financial markets are associated with the lack of formal and informal frameworks to ensure the application of consumer protection practices that promote responsible financial markets. While advancements have been made in forming industry consensus on consumer protection principles, there are significant opportunities to expand the adoption of improved standards of practice. Requirements associated with the capacity and incentives of financial service providers, regulators, industry associations, and consumers, need to be addressed. Under the Responsible Finance through Local Leadership Program (2012-2016), the SEEP Network, in collaboration with the MasterCard Foundation, worked together with its partner microfinance associations (MFAs) to promote standards for responsible market conduct. This included associations in seven African countries: Rwanda, Uganda, Benin, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Côte d’Ivoire. The program helped create the foundation for both bottom-up demand from financial service providers for consumer protection support services and top down enforcement through the development and adoption of association-led industry wide codes of conduct (CoCs). During the program, consumer protection evolved from an emerging field of work for most of the MFAs, characterized by limited understanding of how to ensure implementation and compliance by their members, to a fully recognized core function. Consumer protection support services to association members expanded and consumer protection became a more focused priority of local governments.
The Responsible Finance through Local Leadership and Learning Program (RFL3) in Rwanda(2016-2020) is phase two of this program. Through market facilitation, the program aims to catalyze large scale systemic change around responsible finance by addressing the underlying causes of market weaknesses, i.e. the limited capacity and incentives of local actors to provide the necessary support services, rules and regulations for greater consumer protection. Designed to enable local market actors to perform their functions more effectively, the program will engage a broad constituency of organizations that can influence market conduct and create and reinforce the necessary incentives to sustain the change process beyond the life of the program. The goal of program is to scale the application of consumer protection principles for at least 2 million low income financial service customers.