Financial Inclusion Practitioners
Since its inception, the PRFI has supported the development and adoption of industry standards that promote the delivery of high-quality financial services to the traditionally excluded. The CEOs encourage local partners to strive for the highest standards of customer care in their delivery of financial services. By encouraging the local partners to lead by example, we believe we can help make responsible practices the norm in the financial inclusion space.
In 2013, the PRFI concluded a “beta testing” of the Social Performance Task Force (SPTF) Universal Standards for Social Performance Management (USSPM) — the first large-scale review of the finalized standards — gathering inputs from 21 local partners. Today, the Universal Standards are part of CERISE’s Social Performance Indicators Tool (SPI4) social audit tool, one of the most widely used assessment tools for double bottom line microfinance institutions.
Since 2015, the PRFI has been partnering with the IFC to advance its commitment to responsible microfinance by pushing the Client Protection Certification Program of the Smart Campaign, a global initiative committed to embedding client protection practices into the institutional fabric of the financial inclusion sector, helping to strengthen and elevate it as a model of responsible financial services provision around the world. Through this partnership, the PRFI is able to co-finance Smart certifications for partner institutions committed to achieving client protection certification. Additionally, several member networks provide financial support to local partners to conduct pre-certification assessments and have directly financed certifications.
Beyond advancing responsible financial inclusion, the peer groups of the PRFI often undertake research and studies that benefit the global base of partners served by the 10 member organizations. For example, in 2014, the PRFI conducted a study on Over-indebtedness in Mexico and more recently the Risk Management peer group has begun working on the development of a risk dashboard for partners in Uganda.
The PRFI also seeks opportunities to use its convening authority. In 2016, we organized a meet and greet of the CEOs of Uganda partner organizations. This gathering laid the foundation for local collaboration to advance financial inclusion and inspired the organization of a broader dialogue with financial inclusion stakeholders to find opportunities for cooperation.