BOGOTA, Colombia, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Accion, a global leader and pioneer in microfinance, today announced the launch of Avanza, a new service that will manage microfinance portfolios on behalf of banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
Using proprietary business processes and technology, Avanza seeks to increase the efficiency of the microlending process by 30-40 percent and, through better risk analysis, improve client protection. Avanza will handle promotion and evaluation of prospective clients, as well as loan disbursement and administration for banks and MFIs that contract its services.
Avanza makes use of innovative credit scoring methods and field technology to manage microfinance risk and make lending more efficient. It also employs proprietary risk tools, technology on mobile devices to use in the field, and mobile offices.
Traditional microfinance relies on a single loan officer who shepherds the client through the entire loan process. Avanza employs a model that divides the responsibilities of a traditional loan officer among staff to create specialists in key functions within the loan process, replacing the general loan officer with a team of commercial advisors, credit analysts, and call center and collections staff. Avanza methodology classifies clients by risk profile and tailors the relationship and approach to clients to that profile.
Avanza opens for business with a flagship client: Finamerica, a leading Colombian MFI. Avanza's partnership with Finamerica launches in Suba, a high-density municipality north of Bogota, with active commerce and high competition. Conditions in Suba are similar to those of many of the markets in which Accion and its partners work.
"For decades, microfinance has had to struggle against the high operating costs associated with making very small loans," said Michael Schlein, Accion president and CEO. "We're very excited to launch Avanza today to deploy techniques we have tested that will reduce costs significantly and lessen risk simultaneously. This means we can help banks and microfinance institutions reach far more of the unbanked, which is critical to achieving our vision of a financially inclusive world."
Accion is a global nonprofit dedicated to building a financially inclusive world, with access to economic opportunity for all, by giving people the financial tools they need to improve their lives. A world pioneer in microfinance, Accion has helped build 62 microfinance institutions in 31 countries reaching millions of clients on four continents over the last 50 years. The Accion U.S. Network is the largest microfinance network in the country and, since inception, has served hundreds of thousands of clients with loans and support. For further information, visit www.accion.org.
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