July 2020 - COVID-19 Update:
This message is a follow-up from our February 14 status update below. Prior to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, Lebanon was already facing a political and economic crisis, which began last year. Both of these events have contributed to the challenging situation in Lebanon currently. Like many other countries, Lebanon imposed a nation-wide shutdown, as well as a temporary moratorium on loan payments which not only affects microfinance, but the economy as a whole. As a result, Vitas has experienced difficulty collecting loan repayments due to the aforementioned restrictions or fallout effects of the virus.
Beyond COVID-19, capital controls (put in place by banks at the start of the economic crisis in November) continue, preventing all outgoing transfers of US dollars. This means that our partners remain unable to remit repayments owed to Kiva lenders. Kiva continues to be in close contact with Vitas and we are confident they are managing the challenging situation as best they can. We thank lenders for their understanding of the current state of Lebanon during this time. We will post additional updates as we have them.Status update — February 14, 2020
The recent unrest in Lebanon, beginning with protests and leading to the fall of the government, has greatly impacted the operations of our partners in the country. The economic implications have been significant, including capital controls put in place by banks which prevent all outgoing transfers of US dollars. As a result, our partners are currently unable to remit repayments owed to Kiva lenders. Kiva is in close contact with Vitas and we are confident they are managing the situation as best they can, but until the situation improves Vitas will not be posting loans to Kiva. We thank lenders for their patience during these challenging times in Lebanon.
Vitas s.a.l. has been a major player in the Lebanese Microfinance sector since 1999. Originally a micro-credit program created by CHF International called Ameen, it evolved to become Ameen s.a.l. in 2003, a Lebanese services company. In 2007, Ameen s.a.l. registered with the Central Bank of Lebanon to become the first Lebanese financial institution specialized in microfinance. Most recently, Ameen entered the Vitas Group to expand its direct lending capacity and is now known as Vitas s.a.l.
Vitas s.a.l. is the first registered Lebanese microfinance institution that provides responsible financial services to microentrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises (SME), and salaried employees. The organization serves its clients across Lebanon both directly as well as in partnership with banks. Its objective is to help its clients start and develop their businesses and improve their quality of life.
Vitas’s dedicated and professional staff operates in partnership with its bank partners to serve clients in 73 branch locations throughout Lebanon. It is also engaged in direct lending. Since its inception, it has provided high-quality financial services to over 46,000 borrowers and disbursed over 90,000 loans totaling more than US$130 million.
Business Loans: Designed for micro-entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the business loan helps to support and advance clients’ business activities. Clients with both informal and formal sector businesses make use of this loan. The Vitas Micro Entrepreneur Loan ranges from US$300-$5,000 and the Vitas SME Loan ranges from US$5,100-$15,000.
Consumer Loans: The Vitas Personal Loan is intended for a wide range of personal consumption purposes including weddings, automobile purchases, travel, education and healthcare. Loan amounts range from US$300-$5,000.
Housing Loans: Housing Loans for the home improvement of an applicant’s residence are intended for the renovation, rebuilding, repairing or expanding for the resident's premises. Vitas offers two types of housing loans — one for small improvements that ranges from US$300-$5,000 and one for larger renovation and construction projects that ranges from US$5,100-$15,000.
ICT Loans: The Vitas Information and Communication Technology (ICT) loan targets ICT driven businesses and start ups in rural and peri-urban areas in Lebanon. Vitas delivers these loans in partnership with Cisco systems. The loan amount ranges from US$300-$10,000. Vitas has invested in a specialized unit to focus on micro credit for rural ICT entrepreneurs to support this innovative loan product.
Kiva Loans: Vitas offers Kiva loans as a separate product to support micro enterprises. The loan amount ranges from US$300-$1,200. Vitas has formally integrated Kiva into its organizational process, including hiring a coordinator specifically to manage Kiva loans. With Kiva’s 0% interest capital, Vitas has been able to offer lower interest rates on Kiva loans and is able to disburse Kiva loans faster than any of its other micro loan products.
Vitas's objective to enhance the institutional capacity of private commercial banks to deliver microfinance products was accomplished by partnering with institutions that have a reputation for quality, outreach and interest in the microfinance sector. Currently -- in addition to Kiva -- the organization partners with:
USAID: U.S. Agency for International Development
Mix Market: A global information platform on microfinance
Sanabel: Microfinance network of Arab countries
OPIC: Overseas Private Investment Corporation
CISCO/Partnership for Lebanon: To provide needed resources to assist the reconstruction effort in Lebanon by supporting technology infrastructure projects.
Relief International: A humanitarian non-profit agency that provides emergency relief and assistance to vulnerable communities worldwide.
IESC/VEGA: A non-profit organization using private sector volunteers to assist economic growth around the world.
- Certificate of Transparency, Mix Market (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009)
- MIX Global 100 Composite Ranking (2008 and 2009): A ranking of the top 100 microfinance organizations that achieve the best outreach, efficiency and transparency.
- Best Micro-Entrepreneur of the Year, Sanabel Microfinance Network (2008)
- YMCA-Citigroup Micro-Entrepreneurship Awards (2007 to 2010)
Get involved with Vitas as a member of the Ameen Lebanon Kiva lending team. Or lend to a Vitas micro-entrepreneur today!
Repayment Performance on Kiva
|This Field Partner||All Kiva Partners|
|Start Date On Kiva||Sep 16, 2008||Oct 12, 2005|
|Amount of raised Inactive loans||$0||$1,140,400|
|Number of raised Inactive loans||0||94|
|Amount of Paying Back Loans||$1,126,525||$153,330,600|
|Number of Paying Back Loans||1,029||195,397|
|Amount of Ended Loans||$6,797,350||$1,266,947,225|
|Number of Ended Loans||6,089||1,637,962|
|Amount in Arrears||$559,036||$25,880,860|
|Number of Loans Delinquent||1,029||125,776|
|Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted||$4,456||$22,244,085|
|Number of Ended Loans Defaulted||17||53,955|
|Currency Exchange Loss Rate||0.00%||0.39%|
|Amount of Currency Exchange Loss||$0||$5,566,508|
|Amount of Refunded Loans||$74,075||$8,903,500|
|Number of Refunded Loans||51||8,413|
Loan Characteristics On Kiva
|This Field Partner||All Kiva Partners|
|Loans to Women Borrowers||57.92%||76.52%|
|Average Loan Size||$1,116||$394|
|Average Individual Loan Size||$1,116||$612|
|Average Group Loan Size||$0||$1,763|
|Average number of borrowers per group||0||7.8|
|Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country||$15,800||$5,740|
|Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP)||7.06%||6.87%|
|Average Time to Fund a Loan||10.84 days||7.2 days|
|Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan||$102.94||$54.82|
|Average Loan Term||11.76 months||11.38 months|
Journaling Performance on Kiva
|This Field Partner||All Kiva Partners|
|Average Number of Comments Per Journal||0.01||0.03|
|Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal||0.15||0.71|
Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2016 data)
|This Field Partner||Median for MFI's in Country||All Kiva Partners|
|Average Cost to Borrower||32% PY||32.00% PY||25.81% PY|
|Profitability (return on assets)||3.6%||-13.5%||-2.17%|
|Average Loan Size (% of per capita income)||12.20%||11.00%||12.55%|
Country Fast Facts
Field Partner StaffCeline Adas Chamat