ECLOF Ecuador develops a new loan program for migrants

27 June 2011 | In collaboration with Mercantile Trust, The Migrant Bank

On March 14, 2011 ECLOF Ecuador signed a special agreement with FIDEICOMISO MERCANTIL BANCA DEL MIGRANTE (MERCANTILE TRUST, THE MIGRANT BANK), a bank that is managed by the Corporación Financiera Nacional. The objective of this agreement was to launch a new loan program specifically designed for Ecuadoran migrants, who have either returned to the country from a stay abroad or are still abroad, as well as for their spouses and relatives.

However, working with this sector of the population proved to be a real challenge and ECLOF Ecuador has encountered several difficulties along the way, notably on how to grade the borrowers whose credit score is too low according to the Credit Bureau. Moreover, some of these migrants are currently unemployed or are unable to generate a stable and regular income. Sometimes, they simply do not have real guarantees to offer ECLOF. Finally, despite great dreams some of them have submitted prospective ventures that are just not financially feasible or lack all technical support to be successful.

These problems rapidly become limitations. But ECLOF Ecuador intends to overcome them all, one by one. For example, to remedy a weak business proposal, ECLOF has designed a technical support program to advise its clients in the development of their enterprises. ECLOF Ecuador also facilitates the access of its clients – and moreover encourages – its clients’ participation in the training courses offered by CONQUITO, a municipal entity which offers a solid education in the development and monitoring of business plans.

Ecuador’s migration rate is extremely high and leads every day to silent dramas, such as family separation, children left abandoned or under the care of relatives, and other problems that migrants face abroad and that can degenerate in mistreatment, racism, labor exploitation, unemployment, and even prostitution. This is why ECLOF Ecuador cannot give up its efforts and must succeed. The commitment of the staff is truly impressive and even if the program has just started, ECLOF is already expecting to serve 35 clients in the coming months, with a total of 105 indirect beneficiaries.