AccèsBanque is the first MFI with banking license in Madagascar. Its shareholders are AccessHolding, IFC, KfW, the Triodos-Doen Foundation and BFV-Société Générale. AccèsBanque first developed its activities in urban and semi-urban areas (Antananarivo and Antsirabe) and is now expanding its branch network into the rural areas of Madagascar.
To realize this project, AccèsBanque has received a 50 percent grant contribution to the overall project costs from the Agriculture Finance Support Facility (AGRIFIN) of the World Bank. The main components of the program are to increase the rural outreach by augmenting branches in rural areas, to develop new products and services adapted to the needs of the rural population (for example: a branchless banking system), and to strengthen the Bank’s knowledge and capacity for agricultural lending by developing specified training for employees and participating in professional exchanges.
In rural areas, farmers account for 80 to 90 percent of the working population. In order to meet farmers’ demand, LFS has developed a dedicated Agro Loan product. This product is designed specifically to address the seasonal income flow fluctuations of agriculture related businesses, incorporating repayment analysis based on projected cash flows and flexible repayment structures.
A pilot phase was launched in October 2010 in Mahitsy branch for a 4-month period before expanding the Agro Loan product throughout the whole network. The conclusion of the pilot phase was encouraging, and therefore AccèsBanque has already implemented Agricultural Lending Units in four of the existing branches (semi-urban: Antsirabe, rural: Mahitsy, Betafo and Imertsiatoska) with 14 Loan Officers. The training of the staff of the Agricultural Lending Units includes not only in-house classroom and on-the-job training, but also a specialized training on local crops and local agricultural conditions conducted by an independent training center. In order to assure a broader knowledge distribution in the Bank, key staff such as Senior Loan Officers and Branch Managers are included in the training process.