How Client Assessment is Making a Difference at CRECER

This case study aims to highlight four key lessons learned from the client assessment program of the Crédito con Educación Rural (CRECER), a microfinance institution (MFI) that uses village banking methodology in Bolivia. CRECER’s Credit with Education methodology, developed by Freedom from Hunger (FFH), as well as its use of poverty targeting, is said to differentiate it from many of its competitors. At each village bank meeting, all bank members participate in a one-half hour charla, or discussion, focusing on a variety of health topics such as anaemia, sanitation, or breast feeding. After the educational portion of each meeting, the members move into the more typical village-banking mode of collecting repayments and making disbursements for the coming weeks(s).

The case study itself is based around answering a number of questions. What prompted CRECER to start a systematic process for collecting client feedback? What cultural factors within CRECER allowed the institution to adopt a particularly “participatory” approach to client assessment – using field agents and other staff to collect data, holding meetings to discuss findings, and institutionalising a feedback loop?

The primary lessons drawn from the case study are:

  • Institutionalising a listening culture within an MFI has significant net benefits for both clients and the institution, including improved product and service delivery for clients and increased competitiveness for the MFI
  • Conducting qualitative research using small sample sizes, while not traditionally considered “rigorous” is, in fact, a very practical way to shed light on a variety of research questions. This methodology is quick and cost effective, enabling management to respond to clients as well as operational concerns in a timely manner.
  • Using MFI staff to collect and analyse client assessment data ensures that they “own” the results, as well as the implications of those results.
  • If MFI staff conduct client assessment research, they must be well trained in data collection methodologies. Despite the relatively simple research methodologies used by CRECER, training was still necessary. Poorly implemented research is unlikely to be of use to either the organisation or the client.
  • Resource type
  • Author Brott, R, Murray, I, Rueda, I and Torrico, A
  • Organisation
  • Year of Publication2006
  • Region
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Number of pages30 pp.
  • EditionThe Practitioner Learning Program – Putting Client Assessment to Work

Related Resources