The work of a loan officer in Fondesurco: the reality on the ground

On this article, discover the missions of our MFI local partner in Peru, Fondesurco, and the difficult conditions its loan officers have to surrounder to access all their clients, sometimes living far away from the agency.

What is Fondesurco?

Fondesurco, an NGO, was established fifteen years ago following a pilot microcredit program initiated by a set of four NGOs operating in the southern region of the country (Peru).

The MFI distributes microcredit via its twelve branches, all located within rural areas of the province of Arequipa, and the neighboring provinces of Moquegua and Ayacucho. The loans offered are dependent on the activity of the customers, and offer flexible terms tailored to the agricultural activities, which are characterized by irregular income resulting from the seasonal pattern of harvests.

Fondesurco also offers loans to pay for children’s school fees, as well as innovative products designed to meet specific needs, such as to enable farmers to store their crops longer after harvest so as to ensure they find the best market price.

As one of the first institutions to work in an area so far away, there are difficulties to be overcome, and its employees can reach the most disadvantaged people and or them who have less support, these people would not be taken into account in the traditional financial system.

In Fondesurco, they have developed techniques of innovative credit evaluations in order to take into account these people, which acknowledge the help and manage to get out of poverty thanks to micro-lending, they have more possibilities of development to offer their products and have successful crops.

What is a typical day for a loan officer in Fondesurco?

(Explained by our local agent Oscar Felipe Toro Málaga)

A typical day of a loan officer starts in the agency, where they check evaluation solicitudes and pending chores to resolve, documents to process, etc. Sometimes they have to leave very early, for example at 5 am, to visit clients who live far away to evaluate them or to do collection (collect the money of their clients). They have to go out at this time because this is when the clients are home, after that the business day starts.

When they start at the agency, they check their performing loans and daily loans, after they may do programmed visits, enter the files that will be reviewed into the system. Normally in the afternoon they evaluate promotions and in the evening they also do collections and review pending chores.

Other loan officers leave earlier to visit clients and to promote; besides they do follow-ups of their collections and when they finish visiting their clients they go to the agency to insert the demands and data in the system.

While others are dealing with the loan data, they go out in the field to find credits, in the rural areas the interaction is different and more open with clients. The difficulties start when the clients aren’t at their houses, when they live far, the areas where they work present constant climate changes, and roads that aren’t very friendly!

Given the geographical diversity of Peru, there are various scenarios that our loan officers must overcome in order to serve all clients, how far away they are. Within these experiences, they need to go up and down hills, cross rivers by bridges and sometimes by foot, a scenario that reminds us of “the vastness in which we dive”.

By having several agencies, which are distributed throughout southern Peru, we can find various climates, from cold dry weather with towering mountains, until hot and humid pampas located on the sea front. Some of the farther places may involve a three hours trip, with cold weathers and unmaintained roads, bridleways and cliffs.

We’ve to adapt to each scenario to give the best of us!

See all the projects of microentrepreneurs in Peru with Fondesurco!

This article is part of the special report: