Mon, 6 August 2018
Andrée Simon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of FINCA Impact Finance, a global provider of responsible financial services. FINCA’s network of 20 community-based banks offer responsible and affordable loan and saving products that empower low income women and men to take control of their financial future.
Previously, Ms. Simon served as VP and COO of FINCA International, returning to FINCA after serving for several years as President and COO of Women for Women International, a humanitarian organization dedicated to financial, educational, and interpersonal support of women survivors of war, poverty and injustice.
In 1984, founder John Hatch saw that lack of capital was keeping poor Bolivian farmers poor. Traditional loans were too large and too expensive, and without collateral, the farmers couldn’t borrow.
So he came up with an idea; if the farmers formed groups to share a loan and guarantee repayment, they could access the funds they needed to invest in their farming operations. It was the beginning of what we know today as microfinance.
In urban and rural areas, and in economies as diverse as Guatemala City and Kitunda, Tanzania, Village Banks allowed those with scarce resources to borrow, invest and grow their businesses. They also allowed women—who were routinely denied credit—to build enterprises that kept food on their tables and their children in school.
Remaining true to its original idea, FINCA has become a global network of secure, sustainable microfinance institutions and banks that help low-income families create jobs, build assets and improve their standard of living across the world.
FINCA not only impacts the world through finance, they are also transforming their workforce internally to give employees a sense of purpose and ownership. They don’t try to compete with other companies based on perks, instead the compete in ethics and values.
“People come here because they know that they are going to be able to take on a lot of responsibility and get chances to take leadership opportunities that they might not be able to get if they were in a large kind of traditional commercial institution. It's pretty entrepreneurial and it's pretty creative for the most part,” Ms. Simon says.
She says people come to work for FINCA for 2 reasons, because they want to have a career where they can really learn a lot and because it is an organization focused on social impact, which is a strong motivator for a lot of people.
Some trends that Ms. Simon believes will be seen in the future are:
What makes a leader successful?
What you will learn in this episode: