Designing products and services that meet client needs is not just a main principle of social performance in microfinance, it is also a driver for success and outreach of microfinance institutions. ECLOF therefore places high emphasis on understanding the needs and preferences of different groups of clients and adapting its services to them. At the same time, the right products and services need to be beneficial to clients in progressing not just toward their business but also increasingly their family goals. It is recognized that a combination of access to finance with non- financial services is much more effective in increasing income, building assets and improving livelihoods. In contrast to traditional microfinance that offered merely standardized credit products, ECLOF takes a more comprehensive approach of looking at its clients lives and how ECLOF’s services can help improve them.
This has led us to more tailored financial products, like agricultural value chain loans or education loans, but also to an increasing range of non- financial services : training clients on issues related to their business and family well-being, like financial education, health, home improvement, or access to water. Another field of innovation can be the group of clients that microfinance targets. In the case of Armenia, ECLOF chose to start serving refugees as a new target group with specific needs. The following pages tell some of the stories that have arisen in this process of on-going renewal and innovation at ECLOF.