The Rookie (El Novato)

1 March 2011 at 17:00 5 comments

The class hard at work / Todos trabajando

The Rookie

This past week I was invited to receive the same training a CrediComún loan officer receives: a 45-hour-long marathon of information, from the history of the institution to the organizational structure of the branch offices to the details of the bonuses each role is entitled to. I’m not only a rookie here at CrediComún, but I also don’t have much of a finance background, so I welcomed the opportunity.

CrediComún is a young company with 35 branch offices throughout central Mexico and over 350 employees. They primarily loan to groups of women in rural areas, but are gradually adding individual loans to their $12,000,000 portfolio. CrediComún is a dwarf compared to its main competitor Compartamos, with a portfolio in excess of half a billion dollars, and CrediComún’s employees frequently use Compartamos as a measuring stick. In 2010 CrediComún rose to the rank of 12th best MFI in Latin America according to The MIX (Microfinance Information eXchange), and their total portfolio size grew by 96% in 12 months. Compartamos dropped one slot to 9th and their portfolio grew by less than ten percent.

All new employees attend the course, though it’s designed primarily for loan officers. My class consisted of one loan officer, one branch manager, two computer programmers, the new Kiva coordinator and myself. Not only did the six of us cram information into our weary brains for daily exams, but there was also homework, we had to role-play the part of a loan officer encountering difficult clients, and write songs to promote the company.

The loan officer performs the principal tasks of the organization; everything else revolves around them. They find new clients and take care of existing ones, attend the weekly meeting of each group they manage, typically travel several hours each day, solve problems within the groups, and transmit information between the company and the borrowers. They need to be punctual, professional, have wonderful communication skills and be willing to work long hours.

Oddly, three days into the course, I had the highest score. Danny, our instructor asked if I had ever considered being a loan officer. I laughed and replied that I don’t have the right attitude — if a client couldn’t pay, I’d probably loan them my own money. And that would be tough on $500 per month, which is a loan officer’s approximate base pay.

But they also earn bonuses. If they serve more than 120 clients, they can get a monthly bonus of $40; if over 400 clients, the bonus turns into $100. That amount grows or shrinks based on several factors, such as number of new clients, years spent as a loan officer with CrediComún, and percentage of clients who have fallen behind in their payments. As our class stepped through the function to calculate that bonus, we were seeing that maybe being a loan officer is not so bad. $100 base incentive, add 20% for having been there for 2 years, add 10% for adding 20 new clients, tack on up to 0.7% of the amount collected… ka-ching! Then factor in the delinquency rate as follows:

Percentage of Delinquent Loans Adjustment to Bonus
<1% +10%
1-3% -50%
>3% -100%

Given that the average delinquency rate in the institution is in excess of 3%, calculate the bonus for the typical loan officer. Anybody? Anybody?

John and CrediComún's Kiva Coordinator with their coveted certificates / John y la Coordinadora Kiva con sus codiciados certificados

That’s right, class. No bonus at all. Ouch, right? Make sure your clients pay on time!

Toward the end of the week, I dropped out of first place into the middle of the pack, but graduated. The big honor: I’m the first non-employee to receive the coveted training certificate. Thanks CrediComún!

John Farmer is a Kiva Fellow working in Mexico City. He is gradually recovering from the training.

El Novato

La semana pasada me invitaron a recibir la capacitacion de coordinadores de CrediComún. Es un maratón de 45 horas, que incluye la historia de la institucion, la estrutura de las sucursales y los detalles de los bonos que reciben los coordinadores. No solo soy novato aqui con CrediComún, pero también me falta experiencia en finanzas, por eso acepté con mucho gusto.

CrediComún es una compañía joven con 35 sucursales en la central de México, con más de 350 empleados. Ortogan préstamos principlamente a grupos de mujeres en áreas rurales, pero poco a poco van agregando préstamos individuales a su cartera de $12,000,000. CrediComún es pequeño al lado de su competidor principal, Compartamos, con una cartera en exceso de 500 millones de dólares. CrediComún suele competir al lado de Compartamos. En 2010, CrediComún alzó al lugar número 12 entre las mejores microfinancieras en América Latina según el Mix Market, y el tamaño de la cartera creció 96% en 12 meses. Compartamos bajó un peldaño a lugar número 9 y su cartera creció menos de 10%.

Todos los nuevos empleados asisten al curso, aunque la función principal es capacitar a los coordinadores. Entre los integrantes de mi clase estuvieron: una coordinadora de crédito, un gerente de sucursal, dos programadores, la Coordinadora de Kiva y un Kiva Fellow. No sólo nos metimos un montón de información en la cabeza para tener éxito en los exámenes, sino también hubo tarea para las noches, teníamos que jugar el papel del coordinador frente a clientes complicados y componer canciones para promover la compañía.

El coordinador de crédito hace los trabajos más fundamentales de la organización; todo depende de él. Ellos buscan los nuevos clientes y atienden a los actuales, asisten las reuniones semanales de cada grupo que les pertenece, viajan horas cada dia, solucionan problemas de los grupos, y transmiten información entre la compañía y los grupos. Necesitan ser puntuales, profesionales, poseer excelente técnicas de comunicación y estar dispuestos a trabajar muchas horas.

Curiosamente, en el tercer día fuí yo quien tenía la nota mas alta de la clase. Danny, el instructor, me preguntó si me interesaría ser coordinador. Me reí y dije que no tengo la actitud de coordinador – si no podría pagar el cliente le daría de mi propio dinero. Sería difícil con el sueldo que ganan, unos $500 por mes.

También ganan incentivos. Si tienen más de 120 clientes, reciben un bono mensual de $40; si más de 400 clientes, ese bono es de $100. El bono crece o disminuye basado en varios factores, por ejemplo: el número de clientes nuevos, años con la compañía, y porcentaje de clientes en mora. Cuando vimos la fórmula para calcular el incentivo, pensabamos que tal vez no sería tan horrible ser coordinador. $100 de incentivo base, otro 20% por haber trabajado 2 años con CrediComún, otro 10% por agregar 20 clientes nuevos, en adición 0.7% del monto colocado… ka-ching! Luego calcula, por favor, el efecto del porcentaje en mora:

Porcentaje en Mora Incremento al Bono
<1% +10%
1-3% -50%
>3% -100%

Dado que la morosidad institucional excede los 3%, calcula el bono para el coordinador. ¿Alguien sabe? ¿Alguien?

Sí, exactamente. No habría nada de bono.

No mantuve el sitio de primer lugar en la clase pero a lo menos me gradué. El gran honor es que soy el primero en recibir el codiciado certificado sin ser empleado de CrediComún. ¡Gracias CrediComún!

John Farmer es un Kiva Fellow ubicado en la Ciudad de México. Poco a poco anda recuperandose de la capacitación.

Entry filed under: blogsherpa, CrediComun, KF14 (Kiva Fellows 14th Class), Mexico. Tags: , , , , , .

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  • […] The Rookie (El Novato) ( […]

  • 2. glascurcese  |  11 March 2011 at 00:41

    olvassa el az egesz blog, nagyon jo

  • 3. Amy  |  7 March 2011 at 18:31

    My first 2 loans to CrediComun borrowers went delinquent on their 1st and 2nd payments – giving me a not so great impression. I am sorry to know that the loan officer(s) involved with those loans may have also lost out on their bonuses due to the delinquencies. Your blog does re-assure me, at least, that CrediComun likely is diligent in trying to collect the repayments on time, which has helped me decide that I can try making another loan or two through CrediComun before I give up on them. Congrats on your graduation from training!

  • […] The Rookie (El Novato) Country: Mexico / Fellow: John Farmer (KF14) The most important thing you need to know about this post is that there’s a video of John singing his own song about microfinance, a highlight from his 45 hours of loan officer training. […]

  • 5. Julia Kastner  |  3 March 2011 at 17:36

    Felicitaciones! You must have learned a ton from the CrediComun folks – I’m jealous!

    Good luck with the rest of your fellowship.


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