Protecting our clients

Protecting our clients is not only a goal or value, it is part of the DNA of what Furuz is. Clients and their wellbeing is at the heart of what Furuz does. We express that in the 1st part of our core values, called excellent quality of services, by:
  • honesty
  • clients first
  • focused
  • steady improvement

Clients and their wellbeing are always our priority, even when other urgent work wants to divert our attention. But even before that, honesty is in the forefront of our minds in all we do and in our plans. We believe that even taking a small gift from clients or using their car to visit their homes for assessment is beyond acceptable. Not only can this lead to an increased risk of none-repayment. But it is not the example we would like to set. Since corruption is growing, we want to set a clear example against it.

In 2007 Furuz approved its first version of consumer protection policy. Even with many improvements among failures, we are still learning and upgrading. Furuz joined the SMART Campaign and acknowledges their goals.

In Tajikistan there is this saying: “You can lose money. But don’t lose your honor.” Warren Buffet puts it this way: “We can lose a million. We can lose many millions. But we cannot lose reputation.” This is correct. Therefore our priority is expressed in these client protection principles:

  1. Appropriate product design and delivery
    We will take adequate care to design products and delivery channels in such a way that they do not cause clients harm. Products and delivery channels will be designed with client characteristics taken into account.
  2. Prevention of over-indebtedness
    We will take adequate care in all phases of our credit process to determine that clients have the capacity to repay without becoming over-indebted. In addition, we will implement and monitor internal systems that support prevention of over-indebtedness and will foster efforts to improve market level credit risk management (such as credit information sharing).
  3. Transparency
    We will communicate clear, sufficient and timely information in a manner and language our clients can understand so that our clients can make informed decisions. The need for transparent information on pricing, terms and conditions of products is highlighted.
  4. Responsible pricing
    Pricing, terms and conditions will be set in a way that is affordable to our clients while allowing for financial institutions to be sustainable. We will ensure to provide positive real returns on deposits.
  5. Fair and respectful treatment of clients
    We and our employees will treat our clients fairly and respectfully. We will not discriminate. We will ensure adequate safeguards to detect and correct corruption as well as aggressive or abusive treatment by our staff, particularly during the loan sales and debt collection processes.
  6. Privacy of client data
    The privacy of individual client data will be respected in accordance with the laws and regulations of individual jurisdictions. Such data will only be used for the purposes specified at the time the information is collected or as permitted by law, unless otherwise agreed with our client.
  7. Mechanisms for complaint resolution
    We will have in place timely and responsive mechanisms for complaints and problem resolution for our clients and will use these mechanisms both to resolve individual problems and to improve products and services.

A low turnover of loan officers is a good sign that product delivery is done for the benefit of clients. Products are designed in close cooperation with loan officers of all branches and branch managers.

Our lending staff is trained and instructed in different ways to avoid over-indebtedness, often to our financial disadvantage. But we trust that clients will realize that and through increased trust we will win their faithfulness.

Transparency is not only fulfilling the requirements to show all loan requirements clearly but even in case of functional illiteracy explain important loan conditions orally, some of them more than once.

The goal in pricing of loans is the lowest possible interest rate while still achieving the long-term financial sustainability of the MFI.

Fair and respectful treatment of clients starts with our view that everyone is created in the image of God. As such, we achieve to respectfully treat everyone inquiring for a loan, knowing that some have been afraid to enter a “bank”. And last, but not least, fair and respectful treatment is of utmost importance in case of collecting debt from bad loans. While looking at the long-term, we avoid our short-term benefit by treating clients unfair, rude or even straightforward illegally.

We have established a complaint mechanism through trusted phone numbers in each branch. Each call is recorded and reviewed periodically.