The Microfinance CEO Working Group is a collaborative effort by a number of leading international organizations that promote microfinance around the world. The Microfinance CEO Working Group consists of the leaders of eight international microfinance organizations: Accion, FINCA International, Freedom from Hunger, Grameen Foundation USA, Opportunity International, Pro Mujer, VisionFund International, and Women’s World Banking.
In early 2011, an informal group of industry leaders began to meet to discuss the state of the microfinance sector as it matures and encounters new challenges. Participants quickly discovered a shared perspective on the future of the microfinance industry – one rooted in high standards, client orientation, and collective action.
The Working Group seeks to work together to support the positive development of its member organizations and the microfinance industry at large. Its members will advocate in favor of responsible microfinance practices and commit to upholding their organizations to the highest standards.
The Center for Financial Inclusion in Washington, D.C. currently serves as the Secretariat of the Microfinance CEO Working Group.
The members of the Microfinance CEO Working Group are:
President and CEO, Accion
President and CEO, FINCA
Working Group Founding Co-Chair
President, Freedom from Hunger
President and CEO, Grameen Foundation
Board Chair, Opportunity International
President and CEO, Pro Mujer
President and CEO, VisionFund
Mary Ellen Iskenderian
President and CEO, Women's World Banking
Working Group Founding Co-Chair
Mission & Activities
The Microfinance CEO Working Group’s goal is to support the positive development of its member organizations and the microfinance industry at large, so the field can reach its full potential of bringing financial and related services to those who have been traditionally excluded.
The Working Group has four primary activities:
- Advocacy: Collectively advocate in support of the microfinance industry to key influencers and the media, championing promising ideas and solutions, and promoting responsible microfinance.
- Industry Strengthening: Encourage the development and adoption of industry standards for performance that ensure the delivery of high quality services to the poor.
- Institution Strengthening: Become standard bearers for responsible and innovative microfinance through the implementation of best practices and a continual search for improvement.
- Relationship Building: Provide a forum for collaboration and information sharing among leaders who represent pioneering international microfinance organizations.
The Working Group’s initial work has focused around support for three industry initiatives that are playing a major role in advancing commitment and capacity to responsible microfinance:
- The Smart Campaign: A global campaign committed to embedding client protection practices into the institutional fabric of the microfinance industry, the Smart Campaign has been endorsed by over 3,700 institutions and individuals since its launch in 2009.
- MFTransparency: MicroFinance Transparency serves as a public forum for microfinance institutions to demonstrate their commitment to pricing transparency and integrity.
- The Social Performance Task Force: The SPTF is an ambitious effort by more than 1,000 stakeholders to develop common tools for measuring and managing social performance. It has developed “Universal Standards for Social Performance Management” that will guide organizations as they work to translate their missions into reality.
For the latest from the Microfinance CEO Working Group, visit their blog.