Haiti

Accessible Finance Activity


Expanding Remote Financial
Access Using Digital Channels
January 2017 - June 2020


 

Project Overview

Creating economic prosperity for all of Haiti’s citizens remains a challenge today. Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 59 percent of the population living below the national poverty line of US $2.41 per day, according to the most recent household survey (2012), and only 13 percent of the labor force in the formal sector. Despite this, World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) experience in Haiti demonstrates that Haitians do have money to save, even if deposits are small. However, accessing financial services poses another layer of challenges. Reaching a financial institution requires paying high transport costs, as services are several hours away and concentrated in the main cities. Furthermore, financial institutions often lack liquidity and the capital needed to introduce new products and services tailored to both meet client demand and attract new clients to the sector.

WOCCU has been working on increasing financial inclusion in Haiti for over nine years. This effort has culminated in the Accessible Finance Activity, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This program supports both USAID’s objective of promoting a stable and economically viable Haiti, and the Central Bank of Haiti’s goal of creating a financially and economically more inclusive society by ensuring the greatest possible access to savings, credit, and other financial products and services. Building on knowledge gained under USAID’s previous financial inclusion project, HIFIVE implemented by WOCCU, the Accessible Finance Activity tackles financial access challenges through two primary objectives:

Objective 1: Expand financial services and products to rural areas through established groups and digital financial services (mainly field officer banking methodology).

Objective 2: Sustainably address liquidity and capital challenges faced by microfinance institutions (MFIs) and credit unions.

Under objective 1, WOCCU is piloting its Field Officer Banking methodology—developed and tested in several Latin American countries—with CPF, SOCOLAVIM and LE LEVIER federation of credit unions in Haiti. Through field officer banking, branded as Kes Pam Pi Pre’m (KPPP) in Haiti, or ‘My Credit Union Close to Me’ in English, Rural Agents from formal financial institutions use motorbikes to reach rural areas, bringing financial services through smartphones or tablets with portable printers. 

Rural Agents meet with members in person to collect deposits, process loan applications and payments, and sign up new members. Utilizing digital channels reduces transaction costs for both clients and financial institutions and increases transparency through digital receipts. With direct access to accounts through the smartphone or tablet, financial institutions can offer clients individual accounts, rather than the traditional group accounts and guarantees—enabling clients to have a direct relationship with financial institutions to start building credit history and access an array of products that meet their individual needs.

Under objective 2, WOCCU addresses liquidity and capital challenges faced by MFIs and credit unions through savings and investment mobilization. The program is working with the national association of credit unions, Association Nationale des Caisses Populaires haïtiennes (ANACAPH), an affiliate member of WOCCU, to identify and recommend client-driven deposit products, policies, and mobilization strategies. WOCCU is also partnering with SSG Advisors/Resonance to pilot its Sustainable Investment Facilitation Toolkit (SIFT) with FINCA Haiti to support capital-raising efforts.

Quarterly Update (March 2020)

KPPP Pilot Credit Unions

  • Serving 227 groups
  • 3,318 members
  • 60% are women
  • Outstanding loans up 2.8%
  • Savings up 27%

LE LEVIER

  • Progress made in testing and piloting the Intermediary Agent component of field officer banking/KPPP, which enables access to accounts through third parties selected by financial institutions.

ANACAPH

  • Organized coaching workshop in the South and remote activities with participating credit unions, 8 of which already approved new savings products under improved marketing and communication plans.

Resonance

  • Completed activities with FINCA Haiti in November 2020; USD 7.5 million raised in debt. Finalized the Capital Raise Playbook, a step-by-step manual to engage investors. 


In the beginning of Q2 FY 2020 (January 1 to March 31, 2020), KPPP service resumed activities following intense periods of unrest in Q1 FY20. However, in March 2020, measures implemented by the Government authorities around the COVID-19 pandemic led our financial institution partners to slow down operations and focus on critical activities, including reviewing institutional organization plans to protect their staff and maintain services continuously as much as feasible.

As of March 2020, KPPP pilot credit unions are serving 227 groups, with 3,318 members, of which 60% are women. Despite a challenging environment of unrest and the onset of COVID-19, KPPP service has been maintained. Loans outstanding increased by 2.8 % in Q2 FY20—fewer loans were issued due to the periods of unrest in Q1 FY19. However, savings increased by 27% in local currency. Anecdotally, members have reported they are realizing the importance of keeping money saved for unexpected situations; that KPPP services have helped them save and cope with the conditions of unrest.

Progress was made in piloting the Intermediary Agent component of field officer banking/KPPP. Testing of the application was completed; however, launch was delayed with the onset of COVID-19. Given the interest of LE LEVIER and credit unions in implementing Intermediary Agents to strengthen access in areas where implementation of a new point of service would not otherwise prove profitable, and combined with the necessity of decreasing member numbers at credit union premises (especially with the COVID-19 pandemic), pilots are anticipated to move forward in the coming quarter.

Additional meetings with the central bank of Haiti (BRH) financial education steering committee took place to complete the first draft of the 2020-2024 National Education Program work plan. Participants contributed to the process of identifying actors and developing priority objectives, strategic objectives, expected results, and performance indicators. Activities anticipated for the end of Q2 FY20 were delayed as the committee was unable to meet after mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Furthermore, Association Nationale des Caisses Populaires Haïtiennes (ANACAPH) was awarded a new Phase III subaward to carry on the implementation of the marketing and communications plans for credit unions. ANACAPH was able to organize a coaching workshop in the South, in accordance with the work plan. Field work moving forward will be contingent on COVID-19 travel and movement restrictions, but ANACAPH is already performing activities remotely with the participating credit unions. Eight credit unions have already approved new savings products under their improved marketing and communication plans and are preparing to launch the new products when feasible.

 

Credit Unions in Haiti (2018)

  • 85 total credit unions
  • 826,072 members
  • USD 109,320,615 in assets

Funded by