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The San José Credit and Savings Cooperative is located in San José de Chimbo Canton, in the central mountains of Ecuador’s Bolivar Province. The cooperative has been in existence for 45 years, and its work is primarily focused in rural areas. It is regulated by the SBS, Ecuador’s Superintendent of Banks and Insurance Providers.
Our vision: To combine leadership, competitiveness and financial solvency with committed human talent, appropriate technology, and innovative financial services and products while meeting financial standards and appropriately managing risk.
Take a few minutes to learn about Cooperativa San José's rural loan program:
Currently the only loans on Kiva from Cooperativa San Jose are from their “Ventanillas Rurales” (Window to the Countryside) loan product, or VR for short. This loan was designed specifically for rural borrowers who are far from branch locations. Most loans are given to agriculturalists, but some go to small retailers. There are several features of this unique loan type;
1) Loans are individual, but are guaranteed by self-selecting groups of 10 to 30 members.
2) CSJ is one of the few credit unions on Kiva. As such, borrowers have the same membership rights and responsibilities as other members, including a voice in institutional governance.
3) Loans include compulsory savings in order to educate recipients about the advantage of saving as well as borrowing. Interest rates on these savings are excellent compared to domestic banks.
4) Like all members of the credit union, VR borrowers receive comprehensive life insurance as long as they maintain a reasonable minimum balance in their savings accounts.
5) There are many repayment options depending on borrower needs and business conditions. For example, many agriculture loans have a single repayment just after the harvest.
6) CSJ offers training sessions for borrowers which focus on how to increase their sales.
7) Loan officers travel to attend group meetings once a month to collect payments and deposits.
8) In November of 2011, CSJ will begin bringing Personal Digital Assistants, or specially programmed smart phones with a blue-tooth printers, to monthly group meetings. These PDAs will allow borrowers to perform a range of transactions instantly and digitally, and to obtain a receipt for each transaction.
All these features contribute to a product that is highly developed and very appropriate to the needs of its rural customers. CSJ’s vision for the Ventanillas Rurales program is that it provide the best customer service possible to its most remote members. To achieve this, the VR team is constantly tweaking the program’s design in accordance with its own capabilities, member demand, and advances in technology.
Lend to CSJ’s entrepreneurs or join their lending team to support unique and appropriate loans for rural borrowers!