WMI's goal is to transition borrowers into mainstream banking services, but with a unique innovation. WMI harnesses the borrowers' combined success in the WMI loan program to command competitive terms, interest rates and convenient access to institutional banking services for the rural women it serves.
The disenfranchisement of women in rural areas from access to credit is a major impediment to sustained economic improvement for households in developing countries. It is extremely difficult for poor women to access services from institutional banks in the cities and towns throughout Uganda and other East African countries. Typically, they are excluded from access to financial services due to systemic reasons, such as: complicated paperwork, lack of collateral, demands for a male guaranty, unavailability of documents (such as citizenship documentation), unavailability or expense of transportation, and illiteracy.
WMI's long term goal is to remove these barriers through the women's own track record of hard work, business success and a 100% loan repayment rate during their two year tenure in the WMI Loan Program. By giving the borrowers a chance to prove their bankability, WMI has been able to partner with banks interested in penetrating the rural markets to obtain the customers that WMI has initiated, trained and educated. Because the WMI Loan Program participants have developed successful businesses with WMI's support, financial institutions arewilling to develop a tailored transition program to accommodate WMI graduates in their customer base. It is a winning scenario for all stake-holders: WMI borrowers are able to access convenient, diverse financial services, on attractive terms, to meet their growing business needs and the financial institution l obtain educated and successful new customers. Using this home-grown methodology, WMI is fulfilling its mission of changing the face of poverty, one loan at a time.