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AMZ registers its first full year profits

January 2017

AMZ achieved an important milestone in its short history by achieving full year profits for 2016, in its 5th full year of operations.  AMZ’s achievement was aided in large part by growth as well as strong portfolio quality over the last two years.

On the achievement of this milestone, Abduqodir Sattorov, CEO said – I want to thank all AMZ staff for their hard work and commitment to achieve this milestone. Also I want to thank to my predecessors who have laid a strong foundation for this success and the Board of Directors for their guidance and support. All AMZ staff are committed to continue on the same pace and achieving even much more higher milestones in the coming couple of years.

Tanmay Chetan, Chair of the Board, said – I want to thank the management and staff of AMZ for this strong and hopefully sustainable turnaround.  AMZ has taken important strides in diversifying its operations by adding mobile payment services, micro-insurance and MSME lending to its rural portfolio.  These steps will hold it in good stead in the years to come and enable it to reach larger numbers of rural Zambian populations.

Both Abduqodir and Tanmay had a special word of appreciation for Grameen Credit-Agricole, who were the primary lender to AMZ during 2016, and also helped in institutional development through targeted technical assistance.

For more information on AMZ, please visit www.amz.co.zm

 

AMZ’s Audited Financial Statement 2016 is also available to download by clicking on the link below.

AMZ-Audited-Financial-Statement-2016

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AMIL Achieves Break-Even

January 2016

Agora Microfinance India Limited has registered its first profits for the quarter ended December 2015, and also for each month since achieving monthly break-even in September 2015. Buoyed by increasing scale, strong portfolio quality and high efficiency, this milestone has been achieved relatively early in AMIL’s journey. AMIL is now in its 4th full year of operations, and works with just under 10,000 clients and a loan portfolio of Rs 12.2 crores (US$ 2 million approx).

Commenting on the achievement, Meenal Patole, CEO said “achieving break-even is a key milestone for AMIL as it demonstrates a viable model in urban lending in India.  This will help accelerate our growth making it attractive to both investors and lenders. We look forward to new strategic partnerships for building on this strong foundation in the coming months and years.”

In the words of Ramakrishna Sahu, Operations Manager, “With the current foundation it is possible for AMIL to grow at a fast rate while maintaining quality, as we have now established good standards in operations”.

For more information, please visit www.amil.co.in

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AMNV AGM 2015

July 2015

Agora Microfinance N.V. held its Annual General Meeting on 16th June 2015 in Amsterdam.

The AGM reviewed annual accounts for 2014  and discussed AMNV’s investment updates and strategy going forward.

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Agora interviews the authors of The Business of Doing Good

March 2015

Anton Simanowitz and Katherine Knotts are the authors of The Business of Doing Good, a chronicle on AMK, one of Cambodia’s leading MFIs.

The book provides 6 insights for both microfinance and other social enterprise institutions to better equip themselves to achieve both their social and financial goals.

What did you want to achieve when you first started out writing the book?

Katherine: Interestingly, our vision for the book evolved considerably over time. The first iteration was very much a thematic analysis of AMK’s experience, written I think, for a narrower microfinance audience. As we stepped back from the first draft, however, we saw the relevance of those insights emerging from AMK’s experience to a much broader range of organisations – not just microfinance institutions, but really any organisation (whether for-profit or charity) in the business of doing good.

What are your main takeaways from the book that you feel made the most impact on yourselves?

Anton:  Fundamentally, AMK’s deep understanding of its clients, the purpose of the organisation, and its consistency of focus on how to build a business that reaches and serves the people.

Katherine: I echo Anton’s comments and I agree that the clarity of their purpose, “we’re going to be in business and we’re going to help people”, and their ability to maintain their vision was apparent throughout, even though the institution has changed and grown considerably over the last 10 years.

Anton:  Another strong point for me was that, in many other businesses, I see a gap between theory and reality.  AMK has managed to put their theories into practice.

Both: The final thing that struck us was AMK’s ability to take radical decisions.  All credit to AMK for going against the grain and rejecting conventional wisdom.  They are driven by their clients, they know their clients, and this has allowed them to follow through on these decisions so successfully.

 

During your research, did you encounter much critical feedback or conflicting comments on AMK?

Anton: By and large, most people and stories were positive.  There was a challenge of longstanding clients not being able to differentiate between AMK now and AMK in the past, or fully recognise the changes in AMK’s history and development.  Clients were in fact much more critical of other institutions, particularly around responses to crisis and debt collection practices.  My overwhelming experience of AMK was positive.

Katherine: In our work, we’ve both heard quite negative comments about microfinance organisations in the field.  The lack of such comments on AMK are notable for their absence, and that says a lot about the organization.

 

Where do you see AMK in 10 years?

Katherine: As independent authors, we were asked to take a historical perspective of the organisation, draw out the lessons emerging from that very rich experience.  I don’t know how the Cambodian microfinance landscape will change in 10 years and I don’t think AMK does either.  However, I do have faith that AMK is asking the right questions and having the right conversations so that when the landscape does shift, they’ll be very well poised to take advantage of new opportunities in a way that helps them remain faithful to their core goals.

Anton:  The shift that they have gone through in the last few years by transforming themselves into a multi-product, multi-channel organisation, is the driver for the organisation going forward.  They are very well positioned in providing products and services that are of great value to clients, in a way that many other organisations are not.  The consistency of their approach and the DNA of the organisation have been strong up to now and that is what will make their future positive in terms of a socially focused microfinance organisation. There is always a risk that some of their social focus gets lost in the face of the challenges and complexity of commercial pursuit.  But as a microfinance organisation, AMK is well structured and committed to facing those challenges.

For further information on The Business of Doing Good, please visit the website www.thebusinessofdoinggood.co.uk

Follow the authors on Twitter @antowitz and @katherineknotts.

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AMIL receives its NBFC-MFI license from the Reserve Bank of India

February 2015

Agora Microfinance India Limited has received its license as a Non-Bank Finance Company – Microfinance Institution (NBFC-MFI) from India’s Central Bank (RBI).  The license puts AMIL firmly on the Indian map as a registered Microfinance Institution.

Speaking on the development, Meenal Patole, CEO said “We are thankful to the RBI for their positive consideration of our application, and I am confident that the license will help establish our presence further in the Mumbai market.  The license brings a degree of accountability for responsible finance which we are engaged in”.

For more details on AMIL’s work please visit www.amil.co.in 

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Book Launch: The Business of Doing Good, released at an event in London

January 2015

January 2015

BNP Paribas and the Microfinance Club of the UK hosted an event to mark the official release of ‘The Business of Doing Good’ on 20th January 2015 at BNP Paribas, London.

The book authored by Anton Simanowitz and Katherine Knotts, looks at the creation and history of AMK Cambodia and distills the key factors of the success of an institution that effectively balances its social and financial goals.  It also derives important lessons from how AMK learns from its mistakes and corrects them on an ongoing basis.

The book can be purchased directly from the publishers at

http://developmentbookshop.com/the-business-of-doing-good 

Speaking on the occasion, Anton Simanowitz highlighted the relevance of AMK’s story to all social purpose organisations, and spoke about the six main insights that have been discussed in the book.  He spoke of his own observations of AMK over the years and how the institution has embedded social performance into its culture and work ethic.  He also spoke more widely from his extensive association with microfinance and about the need for incentive and reward systems of such institutions to take the social goals into account, as reflected in AMK’s work.

Katherine Knotts spoke about the enriching process of writing the book which involved many hours of sifting through the rich information provided by AMK.  She highlighted the approach of AMK that most struck her – of questioning conventional wisdom when approaching its work and of putting client feedback ahead of often misplaced ‘best practices’.

Tanmay Chetan, Chairman of AMK congratulated the authors for bringing out the AMK story in a well distilled form and spoke about his personal experience of working with AMK over the past decade.  He touched upon the fact that AMK’s social values were embedded from the beginning largely due to its shareholder, Concern Worldwide.  He also emphasised that often, social and financial goals are not really at odds with each other and can be complementary if the institution is open to questioning its approach and listening to its clients, which AMK does through its research function.

Tom Adams, Director at Acumen Fund, while also congratulating the authors, mentioned that the book can be a very useful tool in the hands of wider social purpose organisations.  In his own work at Acumen Fund, the question of impact is always paramount and he was glad that this book addresses this question and shows how social purpose organisations can approach the question of impact.  He remarked that he really enjoyed reading the book and encouraged the audience to purchase and read it.

After a question and answer session with the members of the audience, the evening concluded with drinks where the authors signed a number of copies of the book that were purchased from the publisher’s stall.

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AMIL prepares to open new field office, launches new loan product

December 2014

December 2014

AMIL prepares for the opening of a new field office in Govandi, Mumbai. This follows from its market research, which revealed that there was a high demand for financial services in the area and that the majority of the population did not have access to finance from formal financial institutions, such as banks.

AMIL also recently launched a Market Loan Product that is tailored to the needs of the urban Mumbai market clientele. The product is a unique in its offering, in that, it imbibes characteristics that are specific to the needs of these market members. Some of these characteristics include larger loan sizes and repayment collections at the market place. With the launch of this product, AMIL commenced pilot testing of mobile tablets to facilitate on field repayments from client. These tablets can be utilized to store potential client information and inquiries that are made in the market place itself. Further, this tablet via the 3G connection provides live data feed to the client officers at the time of repayment collections.

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Jagdhan Finance and Investments Limited renamed Agora Microfinance India Limited.

December 2014

We are pleased to announce that the process of renaming Jagdhan to AMIL has been successfully completed.  This concludes the process of providing our own brand name from the original name of the NBFC that was purchased in 2011.

The company’s logo – as below – reflects both the environment in which AMIL operates; combining the slums’ ubiquitous building material (corrugated metal sheets) with the vibrant colours representing Mumbai’s diverse ethnic and cultural heritage as reflected in the slums.

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AMK in Microfinance Media

June 2014

AMK was featured in a recently published CGAP Brief, “Embedding Social Performance Management in Financial Service Delivery”, as an institution that has integrated social performance management across all functions. The article highlighted that the company’s incentive structure, internal audit and research functions, and governance factor in both financial and social aspects to ensure that the SPM is indeed embedded in the entire organization and not just treated as a standalone project.

CGAP also published an interview with the authors of a forthcoming book on AMK. The interview with the authors – Anton Simanowitz and Katherine Knotts – focused on key themes that have been detailed in the book including AMK’s business model and its robust client appraisal process, the balance the institution achieves in focusing on both poverty outreach as well as commercial success and the high levels of motivation among staff, which is achieved through a strong culture and commitment to the company’s mission. The authors also stated that a deep understanding of clients is what has driven the company’s product/service design and whilst mistakes have been made along the way, the experiences have proved to be a valuable learning opportunity for AMK.

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Jagdhan (AMIL) Achieves Important Milestone

March 2014

March 2014

In the month of March 2014, Jagdhan Finance and Investment Limited obtained its first two external borrowings, reached 5,000 active clients and crossed Rs 50million on its loan portfolio.

Speaking on the achievement of these milestones Meenal Patole, CEO, says that ‘The market has started acknowledging AMIL as a microfinance player and this almost marks the start of our post start-up phase and our entry into a growth phase. We expect to make substantial improvements in our reach and scale in the coming year and would like to thank both MAS Financial Services and Ananya for showing confidence in us. We look forward to building a long-term relationship with them.’

Jagdhan works in the lower income neighbourhoods in Mumbai and currently operates out of 5 Field Offices.