FINCA Bank Georgia announced it has received Client protection Certification by the SMART Campaign, a global initiative that certifies the adoption of the high ethical standards in the treatment of clients in the microfinance industry. FINCA Bank Georgia became the first SMART certified financial institution in the country.
“We have always held a strong commitment to responsible banking as well as the well-being of our clients. This is independent validation lends credibility to our strict internal standards and policies and our commitment to always treat our clients fairly and ethically,” Vusal Verdiyev, CEO of FINCA Bank Georgia said.
FINCA Bank Georgia has over 18 years of experience in the country and has provided financial services to small business owners to increase income, create jobs and improve lives. The institution became a licensed, regulated banking entity in 2013, offering its clients access to saving products. FINCA Bank is making a difference – reaches undeserved people in rural and urban areas: 79% of total clients are from rural areas who potentially have limited access to financial serves, over 80 000 people earn their livelihoods in the businesses that FINCA Bank Georgia finances.
FINCA Bank Georgia received the certification in recognition of FINCA’s commitment to the best interests of clients, which includes institutionalizing the SMART campaign’s seven Client Protection Principles. These principles include: appropriate product design and delivery, prevention of over-indebtedness, transparency responsible pricing, fair and respectful treatment of clients, privacy and client data, and mechanisms for complaint resolution.
In extending congratulations to the bank, Isabelle Barres, Director of SMART campaign, said: “We are proud that FINCA Bank Georgia became the first SMART certified institution in Georgia and has joined 44 other leading financial institutions to position itself as a leader in client protection. Their deep commitment to the well-being of their clients will serve as a shining example for other microfinance and financial institutions around the world to pursue high standards for client protection”.
The consumer’s rights protection is one of the important issues in the finance sector and it is wonderful that FINCA Bank has created such a precedent, Zurab Gvasalia, president of the Georgian Banks Association, noted.
“To protect the consumer rights it is important that the consumers know how justly and fairly they are treated. When you prioritize the consumer rights protection and make no compromises to the consumers’ detriment, this is an inseparable part of your value. This is a main principle for granting this certificate.
I am sure this case will generate other precedents too. FINCA Bank has entered the bank field with interesting visions and it has satisfied the standards that are required for obtaining a similar certificate”, Zurab Gvasalia noted.
Giorgi Kepuladze, head of the board of Society and Banks NGO, recognizes that there are certain problems in protection of consumer rights in Georgia.
“In most cases even clients do not have information on their own rights and it is important to broaden this perception. The Society and Banks has launched a hotline and our clients are able to receive consultations from us in similar cases. In case of problems, we provide medication for consumers”, Giorgi Kepuladze said.
Giorgi Samadashvili, operational director of FINCA Bank Georgia, thinks that similar recognition is one of the competitive advantages.
“This is a widely-recognized and disseminated certificate worldwide. We are sure the practice that we have established is acknowledged and meets high ethical norms. Compared to our competitor, they give us certain advantage. However, on the other side, this is also responsibility for maintaining high standards and not losing ethical norms that we have already established in the course of time. On the contrary, we are to strengthen them”, Samadashvili said.