Local project partner
12 financial cooperatives
Fundación Capital and FAS
German project partner
Banca de las Oportunidades
05.08.2019 - 31.10.2021
Access to the formal financial sector and financial products is significantly lower in rural areas of Colombia than in urban areas. While there has been significant progress in Colombia in this regard since 2015, offering at least one access point to the formal financial system in all municipalities, the gap between urban and rural coverage remains large. The proportion of adults who have access to savings and credit products is also much lower in rural areas.
Access to financial services through "agents" has particular significance for rural areas. In recent years, agents of credit unions have become much more dynamic than those of commercial banks. Small businesses such as kiosks, bakeries, hairdressers, etc. that act as agents for financial cooperatives are much cheaper compared to setting up their own branches. They have lower fixed costs and consequently can operate efficiently even in remote rural areas.
To reduce the discrepancies in access to the formal financial sector between urban and rural regions, the project aims to support the rural presence of financial cooperatives through mobile agents. The financial cooperatives will receive technical and financial support. Additionally, the project includes a component targeting financial education of the population.
The project has the following objectives:
- increase the number of agents in the network of the financial cooperatives.
- improve access to financial services in rural areas.
- increase agent penetration in targeted rural areas.
- train and raise awareness of economic and financial literacy among the target population so that they can make informed decisions and use financial products and services appropriately.
Pre-selection of twelve financial cooperatives. Strategic analysis with qualitative and quantitative tools regarding current agent systems, operational processes, technical, administrative, financial aspects and product offering. Recommendations on agent operating models.
Support to five selected financial cooperatives in the development of market and profitability studies. Proposals for accessing funding provided as co-financing for the opening of new agent offices and their equipment.
Establishment and launch of 100 agent contact points. Training of local staff and financial counselors. Imparting knowledge on financial literacy.