Surveying client protections in a lightly regulated microfinance market
This report presents key findings from qualitative and quantitative research for the Smart Campaign’s Client Voices project. This research project aims to understand what MFI clients consider both problematic and good treatment by MFIs, and to assess how common problems are in four markets: Pakistan, Benin, Peru, and Georgia. The research in Benin took place from May through October, 2014.
First, BFA and Centre pour L’Environment et le Développement en Afrique, Benin (CEDA Benin) carried out qualitative research using focus group discussions and individual interviews to solicit clients’ ideas about what constitutes good and bad treatment from all institutions that they interact with in their daily lives, including but not limited to MFIs. Second, BFA and CEDA Benin used a national survey of 1,733 Beninois (1,028 current MFI clients, 526 former clients, and 179 non-clients) to evaluate the prevalence of the problems mentioned in the qualitative research at a national level in Benin. The most concerning problems uncovered by this research project in Benin include clients being unable to withdraw their savings, lack of understanding of the costs associated with borrowing, and clients not being informed of where they can complain if something goes wrong.