PRESS RELEASE


PRESS RELEASEFor more information:
Lale Memmedova
Research &Development Department manager, Viator Microcredit Azerbaijan
(+994 22) 253 14 25
info@viator-az.org


Viator Microcredit Azerbaijan is certified for commitment to client protection.

Ganja, Azerbaijan – The Smart Campaign, a global initiative to incorporate strong client-protection practices into the microfinance industry has publicly recognized VIATOR MICROCREDIT AZERBAIJAN as Client Protection Certified for meeting strong standards of client care.

The institution joins 30 others from Latin America, Eastern Europe and South Asia that have been certified since the program was launched in January 2013. VIATOR MICROCREDIT AZERBAIJAN has served the region for 15 years and currently serves more than 20 000 clients. The awards ceremony took place at Turin, Italy, during the “Certification Summit” organized by SMART Campaign. VIATOR is the second MFI in Azerbaijan market that has been awarded with the Certificate, and has shown the best practices.

“We extend our heartfelt congratulations to Viator Microcredit Azerbaijan,” said Isabelle Barrès, Director of the Smart Campaign. “Their willingness to do the work it takes to prepare for and undergo the intensive process of evaluation is indicative of their deep commitment to their clients. They have shown that this bar is achievable in the area of client protection. Their example will catalyze a movement towards certification within the broader industry.”

The Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Certification program publicly recognizes those institutions providing financial services to low-income households whose standards of care uphold the Smart Campaign’s seven Client Protection Principles. These principles cover such important areas such as pricing, transparency, fair and respectful treatment and prevention of over-indebtedness.

“We have always held a strong commitment to protecting our clients, but this independent validation lends credibility and demonstrates to our community and our industry that we continue to work every day to improve our service and our commitment to best practices in microfinance,” said Aynur Aliyeva, Executive Director of the Viator Microcredit Azerbaijan.

The certification program contains a rigorous set of standards against which institutions are evaluated by independent, third-party raters that are licensed by the Smart Campaign. The MicroFinanza Rating is established, specialized microfinance rating agencies with extensive experience, having analyzed hundreds of institutions to date.

“Microfinance emerged in the wake of inability of the formal sector banks to be client-centric and reach the excluded sections of the society. As such, it is important that the focus of micro finance remains on clients. Initiatives like Client Protection Certification ensure that this focus is not diluted,” said Dr. Alok Misra, CEO of M-CRIL, one of the licensed rating agencies.

VIATOR MICROCREDIT AZERBAIJAN has long demonstrated a commitment to client protection. Prior to undergoing certification, the institution was evaluated by the Smart Campaign on their practices, and contributed to the development of Campaign tools to help advance the sector.

“As this program grows, we envision the Client Protection Certification becoming a widely-recognized, distinguishing mark, like Fair Trade, that signals to clients, investors, internal stakeholders and the general public that its bearer upholds strong client protection principles,” says Elisabeth Rhyne, Managing Director of the Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion where the Smart Campaign’s secretariat is housed.


About Viator Microcredit Azerbaijan
VIATOR MICROCREDIT AZERBAIJAN MMC
– is a Non-Bank Credit Organization provides financial facilities to small entrepreneurs in various region of Azerbaijan so that they can create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living. The company principally provides small loans to individuals and to group of individuals that lack access to traditional financial institution.

The company was established in April 1998 and started its micro-lending operations in June 1999. Until November 19, 1999 it was registered as a representative office of Viator Microcredit in Azerbaijan and with the same date it was registered with Azerbaijan Ministry of Justice and obtained legal entity. The company was registered to comply with the regulations of the Central Bank of Azerbaijan in accordance which only legal entities can perform lending activities on the territory of Azerbaijan. The entity obtained a license for lending activities from the Central Bank of Azerbaijan on February 29, 2000. This year the company has celebrated its 15th Anniversary. Currently Viator is operating 7 branches in different regions of the country. For more details, please, visit our website: www.viator-az.com


About the Smart Campaign
The Smart Campaign aims to improve client protection in microfinance through better understanding and use of client protection principles by microfinance institutions (MFIs). Certification of MFIs is one of the primary activities of the Campaign. The Client Protection Certification Program is possible because of partnerships with the MasterCard Foundation, Ford Foundation, the International Finance Corporation, the Multilateral Investment Fund a (member of the IDB group) and microfinance pioneer Accion. It has been shaped through cooperation with dozens of supporting organizations, notably the Smart Campaign’s co-founder, the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP). For further information, visit www.smartcampaign.org.