DOING THINGS DIFFERENTLY To Make a Difference

BMIC places high emphasis on the area of modern Social Performance Management. This provides direction in client selection as well as monitoring of client progress. In our work, key areas such as poverty consciousness, client capacity building, client protection and transparency are addressed in a detailed manner.

 

BMIC Social Performance Initiatives 

Providing the lowest Effective Interest rate among MFI's in Sri Lanka

BMIC charges the lowest effective interest rate in the market, apart from the government lending institutions. The BMIC's rate ranges from 5% - 15% flat p.a nominal, with an average blended rate of 12.5%. Although BMIC provides such low interest rates to clients, the organization is operationally stable and sustainable.

 

Financial Inclusion

BMIC uses less than US$ 5 a day per person PPP as the entry income criteria for new clients. This criterion is used to ensure affluent and well off people are not beneficiaries of BMIC as its operation focused on poverty alleviation.

 

Measuring the Progression from Poverty

BMIC utilizes the Progress out of Poverty Index (PPI) into its daily operations to track the movement of clients out of poverty and target low income segments of the community for provision of loans.


 

Protecting Clients from Over-indebtedness

BMIC also attempt to protect clients from over-indebtedness by taking into consideration the level of debt maintained by each borrower. Therefore, lending to individuals with multiple loans is generally discouraged. BMIC ensures to get self-declaration of clients on existing borrowing details. Moreover, in order to protect the clients from over indebtedness the consequences of multiple borrowing are also discussed during cluster meetings to create awareness of its negative implications among clients.

 

Client Grievances Management

BMIC operates a dedicated hotline maintained at the Head Office (Hotline number 0703677577) to address concerns raised by clients. This dedicated service provides quick response and solutions for clients.

 

Impact Reserach

The Impact Research Division of BMIC assess the impact of the services provided by BMIC on income increase and broader poverty reduction and improvement of living standards of clients. These findings provide a fair and reliable perspective on impact and field level issues in relation to social performance and client protection aspects of BMIC. These findings are published for public use. Visit https://www.berendina.org/media_article.php for more details.

 

Client Capacity Building

All BMIC clients are provided with basic financial literacy trainings as well as advance financial literacy program called SIM (Success in Money Management) to enhance their knowledge on finance and improve the understanding positives and negatives of the financial available for them in the market.

 

Loan Risk Fund (LRF)

In provision of loans, BMIC charges 2% of the total loan amount from the client for the Loan Risk Fund (LRF). This fund is created to protect the clients and their families in the event of death or permanent disability of the client or spouse in the family. In such a situation, the loan of the particular client will be written off using the LRF.

 

Berendina Social Protection

'Berendina Suwa Sahana' Scheme operated in all the branches to provide assistance in case of emergency situations such as illness and funerals. Monetary assistance is given to client during hospitalization and in the case of death of the client or a close family member (spouse, father, mother, children or in-laws) further monetary assistance will be provided to partially cover any funeral expenses. No additional fees are charged from the clients for this scheme and are provided as a free benefit to BMIC clients. As at December 2018, BMIC has contributed Rs. 13.25 Mn as medical and funeral claims whilst cumulatively benefitting 4,783 clients.

 

Bright Students Scholarships

Berendina Bright Students scholarship program also supports the children of BMIC clients. Any student of BMIC client which family's per capita income is less than Rs. 7500 (except Samurdhi beneficiaries and Plantation sector) and who got through the G. C. E. (O/L) Examinations with 6 passes including B pass in Maths in the first sitting is entitled to receive the scholarship to continue their Advanced Level studies.  As at December 2018, Berendina has offered over 1000 scholarships to the children of BMIC clients

 

Assistance During Covid-19 Outbreak in the Nation

Despite the controlling measures taken by the government of Sri Lanka, and the dedication and strive of the government officials including health care workers in battling COVID-19, it has impacted the country’s economy with the enforcement of prolonged lockdowns, restrictions on inter-district movement, and changes in societal practices due to health restrictions. This unpredicted crisis has created a challenging situation for the whole nation affecting the livelihoods of the majority including BMIC clients.

Berendina Board and the team faced the same challenge of working out alternatives to their general practices of working in the community. Besides, their clientele was in a desperate situation, having their livelihoods greatly affected and they needed to be assisted in several aspects to revive their livelihood. Despite being the first experience of facing such an emergency situation, the Berendina team introduced several initiatives such as providing loan moratorium and interest waivers, relief and livelihood assistance programme to support clients.

Understanding the economic hardships that many BMIC clients were going through due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a three-month moratorium was provided in 2020 for requested clients with the option to extend up to six months for severely affected clients. This offer was communicated to the clients through cluster leaders during the lockdown period. A total of 57,413 loan borrowers representing 72% of the total clients acquired this facility and the total outstanding amount of the moratorium was Rs. 2.5 billion. BMIC also waived off loan interest of 4,398 clients for two months period who continued to deposit their loan instalments despite the pandemic situation.

BMIC clients were given a choice to select between dry rations pack and livelihood assistance, that suits their situation, the best. Dry ration packages were distributed to 80,791 BMIC clients. When the packages were ready, BMIC clients were informed to collect the packages in small groups at a given time at pre-selected venues. Under livelihood intervention, 8,041 BMIC clients were able to expand/diversify their existing income generating ventures with the receipt of plant material free of charge. In some areas, bee keeping boxes were also given.

Berendina also provided moratorium for the second time in October 2021 to 19,106 clients amounting to Rs. 871 Mn, considering the after effects of Covid-19 outbreak and economical setbacks.