Dispatch from the field: The rights and responsibilities of microfinance in Tajikistan

by: Yassaman Nouri

The Smart Campaign is a global effort spearheaded by the Center for Financial Inclusion, dedicated to “uniting microfinance leaders around a common goal: to keep clients as the driving force of the industry” – by following principles designed to help microfinance institutions practise good ethics and smart business. Part of my work at the First MicroFinance Bank Tajikistan was to embed the Smart Campaign in the bank’s culture and practices.

I was responsible for writing a bill of rights and obligations for the clients of the bank. These rights and obligations are meant to communicate both to clients and bank employees that the bank is there to listen to the clients, understand their financial situations and help them come up with solutions to meet their financial needs – improving the quality of their lives and the lives of their families. The bill also reminds both parties that the bank representatives are there for the client, and have the responsibility to answer questions and make sure that the client is clear about every product and service that they commit to, together with all the responsibilities that it entails. Last but not least, it reminds the clients that bank representatives are responsible for practising high ethical standards in working with clients, and should be available to resolve any concerns or complaints that clients may have.

After I researched and wrote the bill of rights and obligations (in collaboration with the management of the bank), the bill was translated into the two official languages of Tajikistan. I am now proud to say that Russian and Tajik copies of the bill are posted in all the branches and business service centres of the First Microfinance Bank Tajikistan across the country, together with an English copy posted in the head office in Dushanbe, the capital city.