Asian Credit Fund: to better quality of living

The Article was published in newspaper on September 25, 2020

The microfinance organization helps rural population to boost business

Today, Microfinance Organization Asian Credit Fund is one of the leading MFO on financial market of Kazakhstan. It is known that the Company has been operating successfully since November 1997. During this time, ACF has become one of two Kazakhstan MFOs which were certified under international SMART Campaign. Such status confirms the Company’s strict observance of the principles of customer protection, implementation of the practices providing prudent, transparent and respectful attitude towards the consumers.

At the moment, ACF is represented in 7 regions of the country where it provides financial support through 50 small offices located mainly in the rural district centres. Exactly in such regions where population doesn’t have easy access to funding.Thus, Asian Credit Fund sets its main objective – to improve quality of households living and to give a boost to small business development. ACF provides different types of micro loans: group and individual, secured and unsecured. While developing the microloans, specific character of rural population living is taken into consideration. ACF provides loans to support agriculture, trade, service industry, commodities production, to improve housing conditions including those related to energy saving. During 23 years of existence, Asian Credit Fund disbursed more than 187.5 thousand micro loans totalling KZT 47.3 billion.

Currently, loans for rural population take nearly 93% of ACF micro loan portfolio. More than 300 employees of ACF are involved into implementation of business ideas of rural population. Herewith, 73% of 26 thousand customers of Asian Credit Fund are women whose average age is 50. “Almost all customers have large families with three and more children. More often they live together and maintain a common household. Consequently, our Company helps to improve welfare of several generations,” – a correspondent of business information centre was told in Asian Credit Fund.

Asian Credit Fund is a member of the Association of Microfinance Organizations of Kazakhstan, and, in doing so, it supports the Association’s ideas and proposals of a regulating authority concerning customers service quality. ACF Executive Director Zhanna Zhakupova is a member of the Board of Directors of the Association and she actively participates in work thereof.

Zhanna Zhakupova notes that the majority of MFOs work with urban residents but ACF is one of those who help rural population. “I was born in rural area and I know well this life. It is difficult to survive in village without a livestock, without own business. Many women are involved in trade; some provide small services, raise stock or engage in handicrafts. All this require financial support. And I am glad that our Company helps them,” she explained.

It is noteworthy that Asian Credit Fund has its record of history called Success Stories about the customers who gained financial support once and directed it towards improvement of family welfare and, in so doing, they achieved a success in their business. Of course, this result motivated them to become regular customers of the Company.

ACF shared a story of one of ACF client Khalyam Tokhtakhunova , a citizen of Shelek village of Almaty region. In 2013 the woman was selling food products in food kiosk close to her house. She took first small unsecured micro loan for working capital. For all the time of interaction with Asian Credit Fund, the business lady managed to expand her business significantly, to start raising cattle and to deliver milk for reprocessing. Besides, her financial situation improved: she built new house and purchased a car. “I started my business with ACF and it became a great success of my life. Thanks to ACF financing and the basics of financial literacy course I joined with ACF, I currently have a profitable business,” Khalyam Tokhtakhunova told.

Asian Credit Fund notes that there are many such examples. ACF customers grow and develop together with the Company, invest borrowed money in business, diversify it and, consequently, receive income for the benefit of the entire family and country in general.

It is evident that since commencement of virus spread ACF as the majority of the financial organizations faced many challenges – temporary suspension of offices work, transfer of a part of the employees to remote working, employees and borrowers life safety and health hazards. However, even in such difficult conditions of the emergency situation and quarantine measures, Asian Credit Fund was providing and continues providing support to its customers. Thus, from the time of introduction of quarantine ACF has provided payment grace periods to 6 872 customers (24% of the total customer base) in the amount of KZT 2.5 billion (or 38.1% of the volume of the Company’s micro loan portfolio). The nominal interest rates were decreased for 5 231 borrowers, the micro loan terms were extended for 6 837 and 776 micro loans totalling KZT 470 million were restructured.

If ACF customers have any questions or offers, they can contact the call-centre hotline 5061. In its turn, the call-centre informs the customers about all changes in ACF activity, processes clients’ complaints and helps to interact with clients under the conditions of ‘social distancing’.

Today, microfinance organization directs all its efforts to preserve the customers’ trust and to service them at high level. In spite of applicable restrictions, ACF personnel continue working on improving interaction with the borrowers and on active use of digital technologies. This is done in order to enable the customers to submit an application for micro loan remotely or to get money on a settlement account and to use the mobile applications of ACF partners for repayment of micro loans. “We bindingly declare that Asian Credit Fund takes care of its customers and looks ahead with confidence,” the Company’s representatives stated.