Status Update - August 21, 2012

Kiva has successfully recovered a portion of the balance owed by LEAP on certain delinquent loans. We will settle out these funds to the lenders who supported these particular loans on a pro-rata basis. Funds will be distributed based on borrower repayment information provided by LEAP.

Kiva has made every effort possible to recover lender funds. However, because LEAP effectively no longer exists as a going concern, we do not expect to receive remaining unpaid balances. Kiva's partnership with LEAP is officially closed.

Partner Description:

The Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) is a Liberian non-governmental organization (NGO) that was founded in 1994 with the goal of providing loans and savings products to the vulnerable poor. LEAP seeks to assist those who have been unable to access formal banking institutions within the country.

When LEAP started operations Liberia was still affected by war, so LEAP limited its activities to the then-relatively secure area in and around the capital Monrovia. In 1996, intense fighting broke out in Liberia’s countryside and in Monrovia. Much of the capital city was looted, including LEAP offices. LEAP was forced to suspend operations for nine months.

After it began lending again in 1997, LEAP faced a major challenge in attracting enough funds so it could grow and expand its services, and had to largely rely on growing its borrower base slowly with internal funds.

When intense post-election violence broke out in 2003, LEAP’s survival was again put in question. As in the periods of conflict before, many borrowers’ livelihoods were severely disrupted or destroyed, and thousands of Liberians fled the country or were internally displaced. But LEAP managed to survive this period of conflict as well, assisted by its partners and stakeholders World Hope and World Relief.

Today, LEAP operates branches across Liberia, and is one of the country’s market leaders in microfinance. As an organization founded on Christian principles, LEAP provides its services to all without discrimination and seeks to promote positive economic and spiritual development in the lives of its clients and their families.

LEAP's Mission:

To help alleviate poverty in Liberia in the name of Christ, as an extension of the mission of the Church to reflect Christ’s love, compassion, and respect for the poor.

LEAP's Objectives:

To facilitate income generating activities and foster employment by offering credit and other financial services to its clients.

To undertake projects, research, and collaborative efforts to improve the financial services that it offers, and to develop new financial services and products in order to best serve its clientele.

LEAP's Loan Products:

LEAP has three main loan products that serve its micro- and small-entrepreneur clients. The loan products are laddered so that over a series of cycles, successful borrowers can graduate up the chain and take advantage of loans that best meet their growing needs.

Group loans. "Solidarity" loans made to groups of five people, in which borrowers guarantee each other's loans in the event of delinquency or default. At the time of loan disbursement, borrowers must deposit a small portion of the loan amount with LEAP as cash collateral, and are also encouraged to participate in voluntary savings. Group loans are made to support clients' income-generating activities. Most LEAP clients are group loan borrowers.

Business loans. "Solidarity" loans made to groups of two to five people, in which borrowers guarantee each other’s loans in the event of delinquency or default. At the time of loan disbursement, borrowers must deposit a portion of the loan amount with LEAP as cash collateral. Business loans are made to support clients' established income generating enterprises, carry larger loan sizes than the standard group loan, and are only made to borrowers that have been successful group loan borrowers.

Individual loans. Loans made to individuals who have established businesses with consistent cash flow. Designed to help support small entrepreneurs, individual loan borrowers must provide some form of collateral and have a guarantor, and deposit a portion of the loan with LEAP as cash collateral. Individual loan amounts are the largest among LEAP’s product line.

Status Update - June 19, 2012

LEAP's acting executive director has informed Kiva that the organization will be unable to repay the full amount it still owes to lenders. However, Kiva will continue its efforts to recover lender funds, and is already in active discussions with other LEAP funders and stakeholders to explore possibilities of making this happen. We will keep lenders posted on progress toward repayment.   

Status Update - March 13, 2012

Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) has $142,153 in loans on Kiva currently in arrears, out of a total outstanding portfolio of $142,153.  The last update on Kiva's partnership with LEAP, dated December 28, 2011, included reference to an upcoming meeting between Kiva's Portfolio Officer for Anglophone Africa and the Executive Director of LEAP.  This meeting took place earlier this year, and the staff of LEAP were very helpful in sharing information with Kiva's representative to assist in his evaluation of the situation.

We are currently moving forward in our next steps to resolve this situation, and remain in close commnication with the Executive Director of LEAP, who have engaged a financial consultant to assist in analyzing their situation.  As we have news on the next steps, we will update lenders via this page.

Status Update - December 28, 2011

Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) has $142,153 in loans on Kiva currently in arrears, out of a total outstanding portfolio of $142,153. As a result, its delinquency rate as expressed on the Kiva website is currently 100%.

In order to better understand the situation, Kiva's Portfolio Officer for Anglophone Africa is scheduled this month for an in-person meeting with the Executive Director of LEAP.  This meeting is scheduled to occur before the end of December; due to logistical challenges, Kiva staff had been forced to reschedule a previously scheduled meeting in November.

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

Status Update - September 11, 2011

As part of an ongoing effort to fully migrate risk ratings to our new and enhanced risk rating system, Kiva has conducted a re-assessment of the level of risk posed by this institution.

During this re-assessment, our analysts were able to gather updated operational and financial information about the institution, as well as speak with key members of the staff.

Kiva's new risk rating system, which now includes half stars, has enabled us to display LEAP's risk rating with a higher level of granularity. As a result, LEAP's risk rating will now be displayed as 2.5 stars instead of 3 stars.

We have prepared a blog post with more information on Kiva's new and enhanced risk rating system, along with a chart showing the relative magnitude of the overall changes for Kiva's portfolio. To view that, please go here.

LEAP has been informed of the change in the display of their rating on Kiva's website.

Status Update - March 25, 2011

Local Enterprise Assistance Program (LEAP) currently has $55,539 in loans on Kiva currently in arrears, out of a total outstanding portfolio of $159,092. As a result, its delinquency rate as expressed on the Kiva website is currently 34.91%.

Kiva has received additional information regarding the status of these delinquencies, and has elected to pause LEAP from posting new profiles to the Kiva website. The information regarding delinquencies and factors contributing to Kiva’s decision to pause LEAP are presented below.

In 2010, Kiva staff learned that LEAP's loan tracking software had been having problems generating accurate portfolio reports, including delinquency data, which Kiva believed was understated at such time, as described in a previous status update, dated September 1, 2010. At the time, LEAP was looking into upgrading their management information systems (MIS) software to a newer version and also proposed to commence a branch-by-branch reconciliation exercise to verify their MIS data against their manual records.

Upon generating test portfolio reports from the newer version of the software, it showed that the Portfolio At Risk percentage (PAR30) was not 3-6%, as reported by the organization throughout 2010, but significantly higher. However, LEAP believed that the new software was also generating inaccurate delinquency data, and proposed to expand the reconciliation exercise, so that manual records for all clients would be compared against those in the MIS. Kiva agreed to give LEAP time to complete this reconciliation exercise in order to ensure authenticity of the data.

Around this time, Kiva also published a status update that we believed that the organization’s delinquency may be considerably higher than previously reported, although this risk, in our view was mitigated by adequate reserves maintained by LEAP due to strong previous grant funding (in the status update dated September 1, 2010).

The reconciliation exercise took longer than originally expected, which prompted Kiva to reduce LEAP's fundraising limit on Kiva in October of 2010. In January of 2011, LEAP delivered the final results of the reconciliation.

In order to confirm the delinquency rate following the completion of the reconciliation exercise, Kiva requested that LEAP generate new portfolio reports from the reconciled MIS data. Due to difficulties in producing consolidated reports using the existing MIS version, LEAP submitted to Kiva extracts of the raw data from their MIS which after our analysis produced significantly higher portfolio at risk (PAR30) ratio than originally reported by LEAP in their quarterly reports.

Based on the results of LEAP’s reconciliation exercise and Kiva’s confirmation of the high delinquency level through its independent analysis, Kiva has decided to pause LEAP from posting new profiles to the Kiva website and has reached out to LEAP staff. They acknowledged that the data indicated that delinquency levels were high. LEAP identified the likely causes of the delinquency crisis as macroeconomic problems in Liberia, a need to better monitor clients, the impact of competition, and insufficient staff resources.

LEAP’s stakeholders are also aware of the issue and have been speaking with LEAP about key steps to take. The organization has identified some remedial measures to address the issue, including: halting recruitment of new clients, consolidating branch operations, focusing on greater loan officer supervision, and creating a Legal Department to follow up on overdue loans.

LEAP is working to fully complete the upgrade of its management information systems in the second quarter of 2011. This will allow the organization to more easily monitor delinquencies.

As mentioned earlier, LEAP currently has $55,539 in loans on Kiva currently in arrears, each of which, to Kiva’s knowledge, arises from nonpayment by borrowers funded by Kiva lenders (as opposed to nonpayment by LEAP of funds remitted by borrowers). Thus, LEAP is up to date in transferring to Kiva all monthly repayments collected from the borrowers, and a total of $27,059.54 was transferred to Kiva in March, 2011. In spite of the pause, LEAP will continue to owe Kiva monthly repayments as and when such funds are collected by LEAP from its from borrowers.

We will keep this page updated in the coming months as new information becomes available.

Status Update - September 1, 2010

As of September 1, 2010, LEAP's delinquency rate on Kiva is currently listed as 25.79%.

Kiva has recently learned that LEAP’s reported delinquency data may actually be understated. A member of Kiva's team recently visited Liberia to perform on-site due diligence, and learned that LEAP's internal software has been having problems generating reports on delinquency data. Kiva has conducted its own preliminary analysis of actual delinquency figures from LEAP and believes that the organization’s delinquency may be considerably higher than previously reported.

LEAP is aware of this issue and is exploring fixes. In the short term, LEAP is looking into upgrading their software to the next version. In the longer term, LEAP is exploring migrating their systems to use different software. We are in close communication with LEAP’s CEO on this important item.

Preliminary indications are that due to strong previous grant funding, LEAP maintains adequate reserves which should provide sufficient solvency in the event of losses due to increased delinquency or default. Kiva feels that institutional risk is mitigated by these reserves.

LEAP’s risk rating is currently being comprehensively reviewed by our Portfolio Team. We expect to publish a new rating on the organization in the coming months.

Repayment Performance on Kiva

    This Lending Partner All Kiva Partners
  Start Date On Kiva Jun 25, 2009 Oct 12, 2005
Total Loans $952,550 $1,958,174,645
Amount of raised Inactive loans $0 $177,800
Number of raised Inactive loans 0 139
Amount of Paying Back Loans $0 $160,798,330
Number of Paying Back Loans 0 188,174
Amount of Ended Loans $952,550 $1,768,209,155
Number of Ended Loans 1,802 2,369,978
Delinquency Rate 0.00% 12.26%
Amount in Arrears $0 $12,218,664
Outstanding Portfolio $0 $99,638,880
Number of Loans Delinquent 0 72,852
Default Rate 11.48% 1.83%
Amount of Ended Loans Defaulted $109,353 $32,286,917
Number of Ended Loans Defaulted 647 84,711
Currency Exchange Loss Rate 0.00% 0.50%
Amount of Currency Exchange Loss $0 $11,931,838
Refund Rate 0.95% 0.54%
Amount of Refunded Loans $9,025 $10,526,300
Number of Refunded Loans 10 9,596

Loan Characteristics On Kiva

    This Lending Partner All Kiva Partners
  Loans to Women Borrowers 65.47% 78.22%
Average Loan Size $109 $392
Average Individual Loan Size $918 $589
Average Group Loan Size $528 $1,891
Average number of borrowers per group 4.9 8.3
Average GDP per capita (PPP) in local country $700 $5,599
Average Loan Size / GDP per capita (PPP) 15.57% 7.00%
Average Time to Fund a Loan 1.82 days 8.93 days
Average Dollars Raised Per Day Per Loan $59.89 $43.87
  Average Loan Term 3.22 months 11.47 months

Journaling Performance on Kiva

    This Lending Partner All Kiva Partners
  Total Journals 538 1,178,265
  Journaling Rate 29.63% 42.27%
  Average Number of Comments Per Journal 0.02 0.02
  Average Number of Recommendations Per Journal 0.12 0.57

Borrowing Cost Comparison (based on 2009 data)

    This Lending Partner Median for MFI's in Country All Kiva Partners
  Average Cost to Borrower N/A 57.00% PY 27.02% PY
  Profitability (return on assets) N/A -2.6% -3.10%
  Average Loan Size (% of per capita income) N/A 34.00% 0.00%

Country Fast Facts

Lending Partner Staff

John Briggs
Dave McMurtry