BBVA Microfinance promotes the development of Latin American women

2 min. reading
BBVA Group, Climate change and neo-ecology / 17 August, 2018
BBVA Microfinance promotes the development of Latin American women

Julia Ortega

In its Social Performance Report, which it has just presented, the BBVA Microfinance Foundation (BBVAMF) describes its contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, which recognise the importance of financial inclusion and microfinances for their achievement. The Foundation provides financial products and services to at-risk communities in Latin America, in particular to women, to promote their development. According to the World Bank, nearly one in every two does not have a bank account. 'Our entrepreneurs are vulnerable people, often single mothers that have a business and need an opportunity', says BBVAMF adviser, Angélica Albornoz, whose job it is to help empower women (SDG 5 “Gender equality”). According to the BBVAMF's Impact Measurement department, the women who go to the Foundation are more economically at risk than the men. On average, they have fewer assets than men (6,131 dollars vs 8,330 dollars) and ask for smaller loans (696 dollars vs 1,096 dollars), but their sales levels are almost the same (1,174 dollars a month vs 1,446 dollars).
Since 2015, 8 out of every 10 entrepreneurs that have moved out of poverty are women.  
'We provide financial services to over a million women, including products to support their children's saving, microinsurance with specific areas of cover and group lending models, like the one we have in Peru for those women living in a rural environment', explained the head of the Empowerment of Women at the Fundación, Laura Fernández Lord. It is in Peru, where the financial inclusion rate in rural areas barely exceeds 40%, that BBVAMF advisers reach the businesses of those entrepreneurs who have access to a mobile device, from which they can keep track of their records, their progress and process requests. This helps to make life easier for them and avoids travel costs (SDG 10 “Reduced inequalities”). 'Loan applications are made directly from the app, which helps speed up the processing of paperwork and to adjust repayments according to the customer's circumstances at the time', says Charly Mendoza, one of the advisers for Peru. This tool is particularly effective for working with small farmers, who make up almost 40% of the Foundation's rural customers. Their incomes depend on harvest quality, productive cycles and unexpected weather events resulting from climate change. In Colombia, BBVAMF offers Crediverde, a type of loan which strengthens farmers' resilience and provides them with the technical advice they need to implement more eco-friendly cultivation practices, as part of the Microfinance for Ecosystem-based Adaptation (MEbA) project, promoted by UN Environment and the German Ministry of the Environment (SDG 2 “Zero hunger and sustainable agriculture”). In addition to these initiatives, the BBVAMF Social Performance Report includes other projects which the entity is involved in as part of its global commitment to the SDGs and their ultimate aim: to end poverty.