Thousands of indigenous households in Guatemala are overlooked by the traditional banking system and big microfinance institutions. Low levels of education and literacy, unstable income and lack of suitable financial instruments make those communities especially vulnerable. Moreover, remote rural areas in the mountains in Guatemala are quite different from the cities, as the indigenous communities that live there often do not speak Spanish. Small institutions like Crediguate with a strong rural focus are able to make a difference and serve the populations in their own language when bigger MFIs shy away.
Cordaid Investment Management has been partners with Crediguate since 2018. With our investment, the MFI substantially improved profitability. Seeing the economic and social impact created within the most underserved communities, we have continued to support our partner and have recently disbursed our second loan of EUR 553,433. Additionally, we have combined the loan with a grant for Crediguate to develop a new strategic plan which sets clear guidelines on strategy and priorities for reaching more rural households in the next four years.
Gauke Andriesse, Senior Investment Manager at Cordaid Investment Management, explains the investment rationale: "Crediguate operates mainly in rural areas with 76% of their portfolio located there. As a cooperative with roots in and knowledge of the local culture, this MFI understands the needs of indigenous communities, offering them a range of financial, as well as non-financial, services."
Besides Communal Banks, Solidarity Groups and individual loans, Crediguate provides different savings products, financial education and various social activities, like hosting celebrations for local schools. Their tailored, personal approach makes Crediguate stand out amongst its peers.
As Guatemala has a well-developed microfinance sector large MFIs have access to capital from local banks at very low rates. Yet for small MFIs like Crediguate local funding sources are not readily available. And that’s where Cordaid Investment Management can make a difference in the country.
"Strategic alliance of Crediguate and Cordaid Investment Management contributes to the reduction of poverty and inequality, builds sustainable livelihoods. This investment strengthens our financial system and commercial objectives. Moreover, it helps our social mission thrive," concludes the Crediguate's management.