European microfinance institutions start to be certified under the European Code of Good Conduct

Published on 06 March 2017
European microfinance institutions start to be certified under the European Code of Good Conduct

Microfinance institutions (MFIs) have started to receive certification for compliance with the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision (referred to as 'the Code'). The first of these was the Dutch MFI Qredits and new announcements are set to follow soon about additional MFI certifications.

Elwin Groenevelt, the General Director of Qredits stated that: “Qredits is proud to be the first European microfinance institution to receive the certificate for compliance with the Code. From the outset in 2009 it has been our goal to build a reputable and sustainable microfinance organisation filling the market gap left by the changes in traditional lending. In order for microfinance to become a trusted financial alterative in today’s developed markets we were eager to participate in designing the Code and thus creating a performance standard for this sector."

"We encourage other microcredit providers to implement the Code of Good Conduct in order to bring the alternative financing sector to a higher level professionally and for our joint interests to be represented well at a European level. We are grateful also for the guarantees and programmes made available through the European Commission in support of this sector and feel it is only fair to have to meet the requirements of the Code in order to continue benefitting from these programmes."

"Over the past three years we focused on incorporating the requirements set forth in the priority clauses of the Code in the areas of customer & investor relations, governance, risk management, reporting and information systems. Receiving this certificate of compliance with the Code shows how much we have achieved over the past eight years and underlines the fact that Qredits is a best practice example in the European microfinance market. This certification also ensures our continued eligibility for EaSI guarantees and instruments available through the European Commission.”

About the Code

The design of a European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision was identified by the European Commission as an important initiative for raising the quality standards in the microfinance sector in Europe and to help spread good practise guidelines. The work to develop the Code has been carried out in close consultation with key actors and stakeholders from the sector. As a pre-condition for benefitting from an EaSI Microfinance Guarantee, EaSI Technical Assistance or EaSI Capacity Building, non-bank microcredit providers have to sign up to the Code1. Non-bank microcredit providers part of the European Investment Fund financial transactions have to comply with the Code after a grace period of 18 months (36 months in the case of Greenfield institutions).

About Qredits microfinanciering Nederland

Qredits was founded as a non-profit organisation in 2009. Qredits' mission is to improve and support the social and financial inclusion of micro-entrepreneurs in the Netherlands that have a viable business plan, yet are unable to obtain financing or coaching through regular channels. This helps build strong and independent entrepreneurship. Since its inception, it has provided more than EUR 180 million to 8 500 micro and small businesses, as well as business mentoring and e-learning courses to 7 000 entrepreneurs.

1 Banks have to endorse the principles of the Code