“Training Day”: Denzel’s Got Nothing On These Filipino Loan Officers

26 February 2012 at 17:41 9 comments

Jamie Greenthal | KF 17 | Philippines

Loan officers and I take a break from the rigors of training.

In keeping with the transformation theme (see From One City to Another:  A New Yorker in Tagbilaran), I am proud to say that I recently graduated from Kiva trainee to Kiva trainer.  The setting was Corella, Philippines, a bucolic and verdant village on the island of Bohol, where 30 young Filipinos, most of whom had recently graduated from college, were undergoing intensive training to become microfinance loan officers.

When I arrived in the training room, which was right after a lip-smacking lunch of dried bolinao (Google it), sautéed mongo beans, and malunggay leaves, the soon-to-be official loan officers (or Enterprise Developer Officers as they are called at CEVI) were busy learning a camaraderie-building dance, which reminded me of a cross between the hokey-pokey, the Macarena, and the chicken dance:

Before Jane Alcantara, Global Funding Project Coordinator at CEVI, described how the loan officers should execute Kiva loans with their clients, I was called upon to present Kiva at a high level to the folks who are responsible for making Kiva happen in the field. Despite my nervousness, I was ready to share the knowledge that I’d accumulated. I was thinking that only a few months ago I was drafting my Kiva Fellows application essays, and now I’m in the field teaching new loan officers about Kiva.

I felt a deep sense of pride to represent Kiva and what it stands for, and personify the connection that binds lenders, microfinance institutions like CEVI, and borrowers around the world. One of the main reasons for taking this journey was to play a role in the creation of this bond. I could only learn so much about microfinance in books and on the Internet; I needed to see it unfold in front of me.

Explaining the essence of Kiva.

After I presented, I was thrilled (and a bit nervous) to see the loan officers’ hands shoot up in the air.  Their questions about Kiva were amazingly astute:

“Does Kiva plan to lend directly to borrowers?”

“Will Kiva lend to organizations other than microfinance institutions?”

“How does Kiva support itself if it does not charge an interest rate?”

“What is Kiva’s policy toward lending in Mindanao?”

I think they had done a little bit of studying beforehand.

Finally, Jonathan Neri, Corporate Communications Officer for CEVI, rose to speak about the power of the CEVI brand and logo, which includes, at its center, a germinating seed.  He explained how CEVI started simple and small, with 47 clients and two volunteers in 1998, and has sprouted to a national organization with 38,000 clients and 300 employees.

In a heartfelt way that captured the attention of the budding loan officers, Jonathan described how transformation couldn’t be accomplished overnight; rather, it must start simply and be cultivated over time.  It made me think about the personal and professional growth that I am experiencing.  While I am still germinating, I hope to blossom much like CEVI and its loan officers.

Jonathan shares the mission and values of CEVI

Jane describes how to execute Kiva loans in the field

The CEVI logo with the germinating seed at its center

Jamie Greenthal is a Kiva Fellow working with Community Economic Ventures in Tagbilaran City, Philippines. 

Entry filed under: KF17 (Kiva Fellows 17th Class). Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Common sense in Mongolia: An evolving definition Update From The Field: Client Visits In Bethlehem, A New Partnership In Cameroon + A Peek Into A Loan Officer’s World


  • 1. thonz90  |  17 March 2012 at 18:01

    hello sir Jamie,

    we are so blessed knowing about kiva ,, thanks for sharing us your brilliant ideas,, nice to meet you again.

    God bless us always……!

  • 2. rona mae lauda  |  1 March 2012 at 06:14

    hi sir jamie,,, thank you for posting our pictures in kiva’s blog we are proud that we all met you,,,continue exploring her in the philippines and thanks for sharing us about kiva,,, godbless and take care always,,,

  • 3. functionkey  |  27 February 2012 at 12:34

    Hi Jamie, a great post–really touching.

  • 4. Jeff  |  27 February 2012 at 04:42

    Hi Jamie!

    Sounds like an awesome adventure! Keep the posts coming and be well!


  • 5. Kristiano Blanco (@xianworld)  |  27 February 2012 at 03:00

    Hey Jamie thanks for letting the world know about the interaction and the partnership. It was our great pleasure and we learned a lot about it. Keep the good work and i wishing you more success in your career and in your journey here in the Philippines.
    Best wishes.

  • […] “Training Day”: Denzel’s Got Nothing on These Filipino Loan Officers Jamie Greenthal | KF 17 | Philippines Jamie conducts his first training on Kiva policies (which naturally includes a teambuilding dance) and shares some of the impressively insightful questions asked by the loan officer trainees. […]

  • 7. mbrowning  |  26 February 2012 at 22:54

    Awesome post, Jamie! You look ultra-profesh with that whiteboard. Particularly jealous of your gastronomic travails; we certainly have nothing like what you’re eating here in Moz!

  • 8. Jamie  |  26 February 2012 at 18:13

    Hey Jon! I’m sending you some warmth from tropical Tagbilaran. The loan offers are referring to the security situation there and the concerns of western governments and organizations with regard to conducting operations in that region. It’s a complicated issue here. Thanks for reading!

  • 9. jonhiebert  |  26 February 2012 at 17:51

    Hey Jamie!

    Great post! Not sure what they mean when they asked “what is kiva’s policy about lending in Mindanao?” Is this in reference to the recent Hurricane?

    Glad to hear you’re doing well and keeping busy!

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