By Anne-Marie Robles, Review and Translation Program Intern
* Kiva Field Partner since: Jan 23, 2011
* Loans through Kiva: $73,700
* Number of entrepreneurs assisted through Kiva: 72
* Focus: Rural regions of Georgia, Particularly interested in business loans that “create income and employment opportunities for the poor”, Special loan products include those targeted towards Tourism Development, Insurance and Agricultural Equipment
Officially LLC Micro Finance Organization Credo, Credo was started by Worldvision in 1997 to bring financial services to the entrepreneurial poor with a preference for rural activities that create income and employment opportunities for the poor. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Georgia experienced a civil war lasting 3 years and causing the collapse of the economy. Credo’s services help small-business owners in rural regions gain self-dependence while also helping to prevent vulnerability to future economic hardships.
The Difference is Rural
There are quite a few MFIs in Georgia, as well as MFIs and Kiva Field Partners in neighboring Azerbaijan and Armenia, though CREDO is currently Kiva’s only partner in Georgia. What makes CREDO stand out are their excellent business practices and their very talented staff. During the 2008 recession, Credo came out financially stable and did not have to cease services to their clients, nor did they lay off any of their staff members. They've also participated in ratings with Micro Finanza Rating, where they received a BBB+ rating for operation and performance in '09. Micro Finanza Ratings also noted that Credo holds a leading position in rural areas as they focus their program on the entrepreneurial poor in rural regions rather than more urban regions. Whether or not it sets them apart from other MFIs in their region, this is definitely something to be proud of.
While not specifically part of their mission, CREDO’s services have helped rural Georgians to increase their income to where they are able to send their family members to school. The ability to afford education is an indicator of financial health in any area with an economically disadvantaged population.
Innovation in Services
CREDO has implemented innovative technologies, such as Instant Repayment System, to provide flexible and reliable ways of repayment to rural customers. They also offer unique products like Tourist Development loans, both secured and unsecured, Emergency Agricultural Loans and Insurance, like Creditlife. In the case of client death, Creditlife protects the client’s family by covering the outstanding remainder of the loan rather than passing the burden of repayment onto the family.
Borrower photos provided by Credo.