The mission of VisionFund AzerCredit is to provide financial services which have a positive impact on the lives of the poor. To achieve this mission, VF AzerCredit provides loans to those who are not able to access facilities through the conventional banking system. VF AzerCredit works both in the urban and rural areas of Azerbaijan, but emphasis is placed on providing loans to micro and small rural entrepreneurs and the self-employed poor, covering remote areas which are not bankable. In addition to micro and small business loans, VF Azercredit provides group loans (both agricultural and urban); household loans for the purchase of home appliances, furniture, etc; and family loans for covering tuition fees, receiving medical assistance, etc.
Fanira Mammadova lives in Goranboy District, Azerbaijan with her husband, 2 children, and grandchildren. She resided in Kalbajar before its occupation by Armenians in 1993. Thus, settling later in Goranboy, she became an IDP in search of some opportunities to support her family.
Her first loan taken in 1999 from WorldVision Azerbaijan enabled Fanira and her family to start raising chickens. The second and subsequent loans were used for animal husbandry business and setting up and running a small rural shop. Fanira says, "With the first credit, we started to raise chickens and gradually enhanced iour business. The credit helped us to survive when we were having hard times and when our children were still too small to work and make money. Things got easier from year to year, and we decided to build a shop and start selling food and other frequently purchased consumer goods, again with the help of business loans from VF Azercredit. Investing in our cattle breeding business as well, we have even been able to buy a truck to transport foodstuff from wholesale points to our shop."
So far, Fanira has taken 12 loans from VF AzerCredit. The reasons for taking loans were driven by various intentions. Most of the loans have been invested in business, and some have been spent for other family needs, such as arrangement of both her son's and daughter's wedding parties, purchase of home appliances, etc. According to Fanira, "The loans from VF AzerCredit helped us to get out of poverty. We started with a small loan in the amount of US $300 and have expanded our business quite well since that first loan. All things in our family and in our business have been achieved with the help of VF AzerCredit loans. My grandchildren will also learn from me and continue family business and our cooperation with VF AzerCredit."
To hear the stories of more of VF AzerCredit's clients, check out this video.
By the end of 2012, VF AzerCredit had 59,751 active borrowers with a portfolio over US $56 million. In 2012 alone, the loans disbursed by VF AzerCredit helped create 817 new jobs and sustain another 115,884. Additionally, these loans impacted the lives of 165,725 children by assisting their families in rising above poverty and enabling them to invest in their children's health and education. As many MFIs, VF AzerCredit particularly strives to empower women and strengthen their capacity and economic position, since they often have fewer economic opportunities. Currently, 34% of loans are to women entrepreneurs.
Partners: Calvert Foundation also invests in VF AzerCredit's parent company, VisionFund International.