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HECD Santa Barbara Update
Category: Microcredit | By Steve, 12-Nov-2018 | Viewed 1345  Comments 0 | Source Opportunity International Canada
Santa Barbara Branch


In the reporting period of April to October 2018, the Santa Barbara branch office has been strengthening relationships with existing clients and working to support those clients being impacted by the ongoing slump in the coffee industry. While there has been little growth in terms of client numbers and portfolio, the five IDH Loan Officers in Santa Barbara are working at full capacity, and IDH is in the process of hiring another Loan Officer to alleviate strain. Currently, the office is supporting 1,103 clients and each Loan Officer supporting 220-300 clients with weekly meetings, support and oversight.


Currently the Santa Barbara Branch has:
> 34 clients in Trust Groups with an average loan of CDN $406
> 1,027 Individual Loan clients with an average loan of $1,404 (90% of the total portfolio)
> 35 SME clients with an average loan of $4,337 (9% of the portfolio)
> 46% of clients are women


Clients involved in the coffee industry have required careful oversight in this last reporting period. Of the 120,000 coffee producers in Honduras, over 99% of them are very small producers, harvesting between 153 and 722 bags of coffee per year on small family plots. Coffee farmers are usually generational farmers, using methods of planting, fertilizing and harvesting passed down from their fathers and grandfathers, unable to utilize the latest technology or techniques for lack of insight, education and finances. While small loans have empowered these farmers to invest in pest control measures, fertilizers and seed money, the low global price for coffee exports currently means growth is stagnant, and farmers are cautious about taking on more loans. However, there is always a new energy and economic activity in the region around November when the coffee harvest begins.


Performance Indicators


The branch has been able to maintain a very low arrears rate. When Branch Manager Ramon Fernandez is asked the secret of a healthy loan portfolio, he says, "We work as a team, day in and day out. We support each other in everything we do. The team is united and there are no differences," he says. "We are all equal. We work for our clients to give them what they need."


Given the current agricultural climate, staff have undergone Risk Management training. This involves learning the best methods of credit analysis and data verification in order ensure Loan Officers are able to properly assess the clients' capacity for repayment. Along with staff in every IDH office, Santa Barbara staff also underwent training for the identification and prevention of money laundering. The Customer Service Manager, Sintia, also received additional training related to her job.
Client Story - Ana


Ana and her husband are the epitome of bustling microentrepreneurs. With 3 teenage daughters, a coffee farm and a small corner-store in Santa Barbara, they are no strangers to hard work. While Ana's husband works their small farm, Ana and her daughters run the store. They were surviving. But there were few gains, little growth, and no options for life to be any different. When their eldest daughter turned 14, Ana determined to find a way for their daughters to get a university education. Then she met IDH Loan Officer Lazaro. That's when everything changed. With her first loan of $2,167, Ana bought inventory for the store. Profits increased.

With her second loan, she grew bolder and purchased a car so her husband could transport their coffee harvest. With her last loan, she has purchased a motorcycle taxi as an alternate income stream. While faithfully repaying her loans and putting money into savings, Ana's profits have more than doubled from $460 to over $1,000 per month. For Ana, however, the biggest reward was the beautiful day, this year, when her eldest daughter started university.

Read the entire article:
Ed Temple

While Calgary West Rotary Club has been the Rotary Lead on the Honduras Economic & Community Development Program, Ed Temple is the  Director of Philanthropy (Alberta) C403.470.4218
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