• Interview Fatima



Interview with Fatima, Loan Officer in Al Majmoua

Hello Fatima! Could you tell us who you are, what you’re doing?

Of course, my name is Fatima Mansour, I am thirty, the mother of a five years old little child and I am a loan officer at Al Majmoua, in the Beirut branch.

And what did you do before your current position? What was your study?

I finished my elementary and secondary school before starting to learn science… by distance learning on the computer! It maybe sounds weird said like that but thanks to this kind of course I was able to have a job and study at the same time. Unfortunately I couldn’t follow this difficult working rhythm because studying science requires a lot of time. And thus, seeing that I couldn’t make it through I changed my course for history and stayed three years at the university.

Did you study Lebanon History?

Yes of course. But I did not concentrate on history for long because there were other interesting options to study. After that I worked for different accountant firms for about eleven years, I liked calculation and business… even if I didn’t really study these subjects. And then I met Al Majmoua... and it was love at first sight!

And how did you get this job in Al Majmoua?

Well I just made an application like everyone else… and I was accepted. Although I have to say that I already knew the company because I was a client… Indeed I subscribed to several loans to finance my studies.

So how long have you been working in Al Majmoua, how many loan officers work in your office and what do you do exactly? Could you say that you’re happy in here?

WWell, I have been working in Al Majmoua for one year and a half so far. We are five loan officers in the Beirut office; there is Khaled, Samar, Ibtissam, Ismael and I. Regarding my customer wallet it consists approximately of two hundreds borrowers. I’m really happy here and I just cannot complain about my job!

Could you tell me more about your clients, their specificities and your selection criteria?

Yes of course, first we have to say that most of our clients are women due to the fact that they bear numerous responsibilities in our country. Women tend to be financially more reliable than men in our country and we noticed that there are a lot of group loans in this region which could be the main reason of this phenomenon. Nonetheless we know that men and group of men also tend to ask for loans. The principle of group loan is simple, each group has to be composed by three persons for the minimum and all members must guaranty each other. We’re just starting providing group loans for men and this service proves to be seldom for the moment. Actually I only have one male group till date.

Besides, we can also point out the fact that even if the political situation is critical, everyone still wants a loan in Lebanon. That’s why we have to select our clients and check some information before we provide them with a loan. Thus we ask them about their living conditions, their work and the reasons of their loan request. Most of our borrowers in Beirut are workers, shops owner and even domestic migrant workers (especially from the Philippines). At the opposite we don’t have many farmers as clients in our office as our branch covers urban areas.

Did you ever experienced issues regarding repayment? And how do they pay you back?

Well fortunately we have no cases like that. Regarding the payment modalities our clients take a check from Al Majmoua that they cash at one of our partner banks then they can repay their monthly installments in a large number of points of sales like the post offices, Western Union or Money Graham/Cash United offices. We give to each one of them an individual card that stipulates the exact date at which they have to repay. For instance our clients can go to a post office and stipulate: “I want to pay for Al Majmoua!” so they can pay us back with their card and take a receipt to get a proof regarding their transactions. Concretely, we don’t take cash. Never...

And how do you select the new clients? Do you go door by door?

Yes we go to our clients to inform them regarding our offers. But we actually rely a lot on word of mouth regarding Al Majmoua.

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