Last updated July 30, 2012

Partner Description:

Aqroinvest Credit Union was founded in 2001 by a group of 32 Imishli farmers. It has since grown to become the largest credit union in Azerbaijan, wholly owned by its more than 3,500 borrowers and boasting a portfolio of nearly US$5 million.

Aqroinvest’s mission is to provide quality lending services that help its vulnerable low-income clients develop their businesses and improve their living conditions. Two of the groups it targets are rural farmers and internally displaced persons and refugees, many of whom lost their homes and livelihoods during violent conflicts in the 1990s.

A Kiva Field Partner since May of 2007, Aqroinvest currently operates 10 branches in rural regions of Azerbaijan. Today, it has 2,285 active members, 20% of whom are refugees, 28% women, and 77% farmers.

Aqroinvest is a member in good standing of the Azerbaijan Microfinance Association and the Azerbaijan Credit Union Association.

Aqroinvest provides significant financial support to internally displaced people (IDP). In fact, it is the only organization that provides loans and works with IDPs in the Bilasuvar IDP Settlement.

In May 2011, Aqroinvest started a new student loans project with Kiva. The project gives students the support and financing they need to continue their educations and pay tuition fees at certain universities in Azerbaijan. Aqroinvest is the first credit union in the country to offer students loans.

Aqroinvest can be contacted via email at aqroinvest@mail.ru. You can join its Kiva lending team, Aqroinvest Dostları (Friends of Aqroinvest), and become a fan on Facebook.

Status Update - February 24, 2011

Aqroinvest currently has $14,781 in loans on Kiva currently in arrears, out of a total outstanding portfolio of $295,949. As a result, its delinquency rate as expressed on the Kiva website is currently 4.99%.

In June of 2010, Kiva posted an update on Aqroinvest and their compliance with Kiva's policies and systems. Since that time, Aqroinvest’s staff has gone through a painstaking process to help ensure that all of their systems and processes are in full compliance with Kiva’s requirements. Kiva Fellows and Field Support staff have been regularly consulting with Aqroinvest during the course of these efforts. These efforts have identified a number of issues that may have affected or been noticed by Kiva lenders who have made loans to Aqroinvest clients. A description of these issues is set out below:

Loan refunds

In June of 2010, Kiva reported that Aqroinvest had struggled to integrate their MIS (Management Information System) with Kiva's systems, and that Kiva and Aqroinvest were working together to find a way to more effectively integrate our systems. Since then, significant effort has been expended in order to align the two systems, helping ensure that Kiva's lenders receive accurate loan and repayment information on Aqroinvest borrowers.

In the course of aligning Aqroinvest's MIS with Kiva's systems, Kiva determined that in some cases, Kiva’s reporting requirements had not been met satisfactorily and, as a result, certain loans to Aqroinvest clients affected by such reporting deficiencies were refunded to Kiva lenders. These cases were due primarily to inadequate processes related to communications of loan amounts and disbursements between rural branches and Aqroinvest’s headquarters in Baku. These processes have been redesigned, and irregularities have not been reported since early spring of 2010.

Loan repayments

During the course of the work conducted since June 2010, Kiva also found some issues with the reporting of prepayments on outstanding loans to Kiva lenders. Because many loans made by Aqroinvest are for agricultural purposes, borrowers are often in a position to pay off loans soon after they have sold crops or livestock. Until recently, Aqroinvest did not consistently report early loan repayments to Kiva lenders. However, new processes have now been instituted to capture these amounts in the months they are paid, and prepayments are now being reported as such to lenders.

Aqroinvest has had to make significant payments to Kiva to cover these refunded and prepaid loans, which has had an impact on its cash flow. However, Aqroinvest is determined to report accurate and timely repayment information.

We will keep this page updated with further updates as information becomes available.

Status Update - June 23, 2010

AqroInvest Credit Union has been a longstanding partner of Kiva's for over three years, successfully paying back almost $1.4mm in loans since the partnership began in May of 2007.

Late last year, some concerns were raised by our lenders about photos on some AqroInvest loan profiles. Several entrepreneurs had their photographs taken in what appeared to be the same store. This raised some red flags for lenders and for Kiva as well. A Kiva Fellow visited AqroInvest to investigate. He personally visited over 40 borrowers whose pictures had been taken in similar stores and then posted on Kiva. During his investigation, some interesting and comforting facts emerged. In many cases, entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan did in fact share a single retail store. They either split the profit among two or three people or, as in the case of at least one borrower, rented a section of a larger store.

In addition though, AqroInvest is fairly unusual among MFIs in that it is willing to lend to startup businesses. For these entrepreneurs who had yet to rent a retail store, AqroInvest had at times taken some pictures inside of existing stores. Kiva informed AqroInvest that there was no need to do this, and they agreed not to take pictures of entrepreneurs in someone else's store.

Policy and systems

While following up on the multiple pictures issue, the Kiva Fellow also determined that AqroInvest had struggled with implementing Kiva's February change to phase out default protection. As one of Kiva's older field partners, AqroInvest was using post-disbursement: it was raising funds on Kiva first, and then disbursing the money to borrowers. While this is fully supported and encouraged by Kiva, in this case it was difficult to integrate AqroInvest's MIS with Kiva systems due to the limitations in AqroInvest's MIS. Kiva and AqroInvest are working together to find a way to more effectively integrate our systems. In addition, a temporary change in the personnel managing the Kiva processes around this time added to the confusion.

The Kiva Fellow working directly with AqroInvest determined that the changes in Kiva's software and AqroInvest's processes and personnel had resulted in several misunderstandings of Kiva's policy and systems. As a result, Kiva worked closely with the Kiva Fellow and AqroInvest to determine the extent of the issues and to conduct a full review of Kiva policy and systems.

Kiva found two main issues: in some cases, repayment schedules had their timing off because the loans were being post-disbursed, but were not configured correctly in Kiva's software systems. As of April 2010, this has been remedied as AqroInvest has opted to switch their loans to pre-disbursement, and its staff has received additional training on how to configure loans in Kiva's systems.

In addition, there were some funds that had been lent in excess of borrower disbursements. Kiva has determined that in a number of cases, this was related to a lack of training around how to handle post-disbursed loans. By the time a post-disbursed loan is funded and disbursed on Kiva, the borrowers sometimes no longer needed that full loan amount and may ask for a smaller loan. The proper Kiva policy in this instance is to refund that loan and to issue a new loan request with the proper amount. This policy was not consistently followed, which led to issues with loan amounts being incorrect. In the short term, this has been aggressively addressed with increased training. In addition, AqroInvest has switched to pre-disbursements so that this will no longer be an issue. For past loans that have been affected, remedies have begun as well (see below). Kiva will closely monitor this issue to determine whether training has been effective and Kiva policy is followed.

Kiva's Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia visited AqroInvest in June to conduct further review and discussions with AqroInvest management. Kiva now feels confident that AqroInvest will follow Kiva policy and has a clear understanding of Kiva systems.

Moving forward

During the discovery process described above, Kiva continued to fundraise loans from AqroInvest, to reflect the long and successful partnership between the two organizations. As a precaution though, Kiva temporarily lowered AqroInvest's funding limit to reduce exposure to lenders. In addition, Kiva paused the settlements procedure. This was done as a precaution in the event we needed to refund loans to lenders who had lent new funds after Kiva became aware of the irregularities, but had yet to decide on the future of the relationship. Loans would have been refunded in the event that Kiva was not comfortable continuing the relationship with AgroInvest.

With the benefit of work from the Kiva Fellow and after our meeting with AgroInvest in June, Kiva is now comfortable with the direction and remedies AqroInvest has agreed to and will be reactivating settlement immediately. Moving forward, Kiva will work to ensure that Kiva Fellows are present at AqroInvest as much as possible to help ensure continued understanding and adherence to Kiva's policies and systems.

One of the remedies agreed with AgroInvest is that they will provide the data needed to determine how much has been lent in excess of borrower disbursements over the past few months and prepay such amounts to Kiva Lenders. Such prepayments will take several months to occur. Once settlement has been reactivated and we receive the additional payments from AqroInvest, the high delinquency ratio expressed on the Kiva website should fall to normal levels.

Until Kiva is comfortable that AqroInvest's policies and systems are functioning properly, Kiva will keep AqroInvest's funding limit at its lowered level. Kiva will also closely monitor AqroInvest's loans before determining whether to raise the limit.

Kiva recognizes and regrets the discomfort and confusion this process has created for AqroInvest lenders. We appreciate your continuing interest in and support of AqroInvest and its borrowers as we work through the above issues.

Kiva HelpRepayment Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva May 8, 2007 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $5,208,300 $538,432,075
Amount of Raised Inactive Loans $0 $319,600
Number Of Raised Inactive Loans 0 243
Amount of Paying Back Loans $1,159,450 $110,295,425
Number Of Paying Back Loans 540 113,938
Amount of Ended Loans $4,048,850 $427,817,050
Number Of Ended Loans 2,883 549,600
Delinquency Rate 4.90% 3.35%
Amount In Arrears $31,657 $2,392,132
Outstanding Portfolio $646,311 $71,413,577
Number of Loans Delinquent 34 10,630
Default Rate 0.00% 1.01%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $0 $4,334,868
Amount of Ended Loans $4,048,850 $427,817,050
Number Of Ended Loans Defaulted 0 14,050
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.06%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $298,028
Refund Rate 3.78% 0.82%
Amount of Refunded Loans $196,725 $4,417,000
Number Of Refunded Loans 101 4,864

Kiva HelpLoan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans To Women Entrepreneurs 27.55% 74.09%
Average Loan Size $1,534 $417
Average Individual Loan Size $1,534 $656
Average Group Loan Size $0 $1,813
Average Number Of Entrepreneurs Per Group 0 8
Average GDP Per Capita (PPP) in Local Country $6,171 $3,463
Average Loan Size / GDP Per Capita (PPP) 24.85% 12.05%
Average Time To Fund A Loan 13.73 days 5.29 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $111.72 $78.96
  Average Loan Term 14.91 months 10.05 months

Kiva HelpJournaling Performance on Kiva

    This Field Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 400 268,567
  Journaling Rate 12.86% 42.09%
  Average Number Of Comments Per Journal 0.19 0.09
  Average Number Of Recommendations Per Journal 5.35 2.06

Kiva HelpBorrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2011 data)

    This Field Partner Median for MFI Peers in Country All Kiva Partners
  Portfolio Yield 19.60% 26.80% 34.93%
  Profitability (Return on Assets) 2.7% 2.7% -1.11%
  Average Loan Size (% of Per Capita Income) 57.50% 24.20% 42.70%

Kiva HelpCountry Fast Facts

Field Partner Staff

Rukhsarakhanim Babayeva
Tamilla Babayeva
Gulnara Celilova
Jalal Rayi
Sabina Suleymanova