Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited (Opportunity International), a leading savings and loans company in Ghana, in collaboration with the Visa Foundation is implementing an Economic Recovery and Rebuild Initiative (ERRI) project to help reduce the impact of COVID-19 on businesses of its existing clients through an interest buy-down and guarantee facility.
With funding support from the Visa Foundation, the ERRI commenced in June 2021 and comes to a close in May 2022.
The main objective of the ERRI is to help reduce the interest burden of existing clients by reimbursing them with 50% of their interest amount. This is to reward loyal clients while also encouraging new clients and defaulters to repay their loans, so that they can benefit from such interventions.
The beneficiaries of this facility comprised of individual women clients or groups with majority women membership. Eighty-five per cent out of the total 852 beneficiaries were women. One key qualification criteria used in the selection process for these clients was to complete their loan repayment without defaulting at the end of the maturity date, and with a minimum loan cycle of seven after which the client benefits from the interest buy-down, in the form of a 50% interest refund.
To avoid the culture of loan delinquency, the guarantee facility was not communicated to the beneficiaries. However, the agreed discounts were applied to the accounts of qualifying applicants.
Additionally, the UPS Foundation which is similar to the VISA Foundation redesigned its programme to create the financial and managerial capabilities of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), as well as connect them to both financial resources and the market through interest buy-downs to help lessen the impact of COVID-19 on their businesses. Given this reason, the project reduced the interest rate for PWDs for both existing and new clients. A total of 56 PWDs benefited from the project, with 31 of them being women.
Opportunity International Savings and Loans Limited is a leading savings and loans institution in Ghana. The institution serves over 610,000 depositors with loans, deposit products, and other services across 10 out of the 16 regions of the country. It operates in 23 countries across the globe serving nearly 10 million clients with the Global office in Chicago, USA.