Innovation in housing microfinance: ECLOF Dominican Republic awarded “Most innovative microfinance institution” at CITI 2016 Microenterprise Awards

15 December 2016 | ECLOF Dominican Republic was recognized as “Most innovative microfinance institution” by the Council of American Development Foundations (SOLIDARIOS), a non-profit association of development actors. Part of the 12th CITI Microenterprise Awards, the award recognizes ECLOF’s new product "Mejora Fácil”, a combination of a home improvement loan with technical assistance to low-income clients.

It is known that many microfinance clients have long been using proceeds from their micro loans to improve their business property or their home; where in many cases their home actually serves as their business premise. With "Mejora Fácil”, ECLOF clients can now access a dedicated loan in combination with free-of-charge technical advice to upgrade or renovate their residential or commercial premise. Provided by specialized ECLOF staff including an architect and a home improvement specialist, the technical assistance ensures that a client’s home improvement plan is realistic and relies on high-quality building material. In addition, clients can benefit from regular ECLOF training on financial education, business leadership or culture of peace.

ECLOF developed the award-winning product in partnership with Luxembourg-based development organization ADA, the Central American Microfinance Network REDCAMIF, the Dominican Microfinance Network REDOMIF and Habitat for Humanity. The success of the new product with clients by far exceeded expectations: in the pilot phase, nearly 900 clients of ECLOF received technical advice and a loan of on average 1,300 dollars to improve their dwelling or business property.

At the awards ceremony, ECLOF Dominicana’s Director William Jiménez attributed the success of the housing improvement product to the work of all the staff of his organization and remarked: "What gives us the greatest satisfaction is knowing that through our work, we are contributing to entrepreneurship, human and financial development of thousands of Dominicans with poor resources. Through loans, trainings and technical assistance, we generate opportunities through fair financial inclusion for sustainable development."

ECLOF Dominican Republic has been distinguished before, obtaining leading positions in the "2014 Microfinance Americas: the top 100 ranking" by outreach, efficiency and transparency.