Microfinance Loan Officers in Vietnam

22 January 2011 at 04:00 1 comment

By:  Tran Chau, KF13, Vietnam

At SEDA, there are 16 loan officers who are the heart of the organization. They are responsible for educating clients, dispersing loans, collecting repayments, completing paperwork, and handling any issues that could arise during the loan cycle. On any given week, from Monday to Thursday, loan officers begin their day somewhere between 7:30AM and 8:30AM when they arrive at the office. There, they get ready to go to the field. They speak to the branch manager and the regional manager, double-check the collection ledgers, and organize the tasks they need to complete for the day. Promptly at 9:00AM, they depart for the field.

In the field, there is no typical day for a loan officer. Instead, their time could be spent traveling between different village collection points to collect repayments, dispersing new loans to clients, soliciting feedback from current clients, sharing new policies and news from the MFI, or answering questions from prospective clients. Between 2:00PM and 3:00PM, they finish these duties and they either meet up with other loan officers to grab a late lunch, or they quickly eat alone before returning to the branch office. Back at the branch office, they record the repayments they collect, update the branch and regional managers with any pertinent information gleaned from the field, and prepare for the next day. The day ends around 5:00PM, but there is no sense of clock-watching, and they leave when their affairs are in order.

On Fridays, the loan officers do not make collections. Instead, the morning is spent checking ledgers and loan balances one last time and preparing for the following Monday. After that, loan officers and managers spend the rest of the day in the field. They educate prospective borrowers about SEDA and microfinance services, expectations for repayment, and solidarity group lending. They also visit clients throughout the villages to ensure an open line of communication is maintained between the MFI and the communities in which it operates.

The loan officers do this work for a salary of approximately $75/month. That may sound low, but the minimum wage in Vietnam is approximately $40/month, and I can eat lunch in Dong Anh for $0.75/day.

Thank you again for supporting Kiva’s microfinance initiative in Vietnam.  If you would like, please join SEDA’s lending team here and make a loan to an entrepreneur in Vietnam.

Tran Chau is a Kiva Fellow (KF13) currently based in Ha Noi, Viet Nam.

Want to volunteer with the Kiva Fellows Program?  Learn more here and apply to be a Fellow!

Entry filed under: KF13 (Kiva Fellows 13th Class), SEDA (Binh Minh), Vietnam.

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