Business & Industry
Nov 30, 2015
THE EXPERIENCE OF BANCO SOL
Microcredit is a financial instrument conceived for stimulating development, as it allows poor people with scarcity of resources and without assets to use as collateral to have access to loans of small amounts that are sufficient to initiate a small business or to create a small company, increasing the income of the families and ameliorating their inclusion in the community.
In an African country as Angola, that went through a long period of conflicts ended in 2002, but has substantial reserves of oil and gas (the 2nd producer in Sub-Saharian Africa) and diamonds, it is important that the State and the Banks play an active role orienting resources to support social inclusion of the less favored people through the use of Microcredit as a way of promoting the classes with lower income.
It may be said that this philosophy of modern Microcredit started in 1983 in Bangladesh, with the Grameen Bank, created by Professor Muhammed Yunes. From there it spread all over the world, mainly in Asia, Africa and Latin America, particularly in countries with large population living under the line of poverty. And in spite of many difficulties, Microcredit has become known as an important financial instrument for fighting poverty and for promoting social inclusion.
In Angola, Microcredit has been an innovation introduced by Banco SOL and since the inception of the Bank a great importance was given to this modality of credit for supporting the start-up of small entrepreneurs willing and capable for launching new micro or small enterprises that increase the output and create jobs. Besides, along 14 years, the methodology created and improved by Banco SOL gave to the Bank a high degree of efficiency when approving and recovering this type of credit that has been recognized by many governmental and private entities operating in Angola for using Banco SOL as agent for managing special funds dedicated to specific programs of Microcredit.
After 14 years of activity Banco SOL is proud that more than 100,000 small clients benefit from Microcredit loans with a total amount above 116 million Dollars, representing an average value of 1,320 Dollars per client, what means about 5 % of the total credit portfolio of Banco SOL This means that the dedication of Banco SOL to the Microcredit is not just words without meaning. As President Coutinho Nobre Miguel said, Banco SOL has always had the concern of conciliating this type of credit socially oriented with the engagement towards shareholders and the priority to the economic development of Angola.
Today, with more than 600,000 clients and a total outstanding amount of credit of more than 900 million Dollars, Banco SOL is among the large banks in Angola and has generated a net profit in 2014 above 41 million Dollars. Banco SOL keep following a prudent credit policy avoiding the risk of deteriorating the solvency and profitability of the bank, trying to maintain very solid patterns of quality in the services provided to clients, according to the best practices of international standards.
The case of Banco SOL demonstrate that it is possible for a Bank managed by rigorous banking standards to act in an ethic and efficient way of solidarity towards social inclusion in a less developed country supporting people with lower income and assets but showing willingness and entrepreneurial initiative for launching micro-projects able to generate family or enterprise income, helping the GDP to growth, bringing more people to the banking system, increasing tax collection and reducing the informality with the national economy.
Facing a deep reduction in oil price that affects the economy of countries, as Angola, hugely dependent on the exports of commodities, the fundamental priority is to promote the diversification of the national production. This option opens the way to a larger use of Microcredit and Banco Sol wish to maintain is role of reference, as it expects that national enterprises of every dimension, as well as foreign investment, should play an important role for diversifying the economy, creating new start-up companies and more new jobs, for assuring better rates of growth in Angola, as well as in other African countries.