The beginnings of Banco Fie were driven by a commitment to society and to improving the living conditions of the Bolivian people through access to credit. This commitment prompted the establishment of “Fie NGO,” a microcredit financial institution. As a regulated financial institution, the deposits entrusted to Fie by its savers were used to finance economic activities of small and micro enterprises throughout Bolivia. This did not just enable the sector to access financial resources, but also to improve living conditions and generate development opportunity for various communities. In 2010, the organization transformed into a bank, a turning point that marks one of the most important milestones in Fie’s history, and one which was supported by its clients, its employees and the communities it serves. Today, Banco Fie’s mission is to be the preferred financial institution for small and micro-enterprises nationally, based on the bank’s strong solvency position and quality of services, attracting investors committed to equitable and all-inclusive development in Bolivia.
Felipa is one of a group of women who formed a partnership three years ago in a rural community in Santa Cruz. Dedicated to the production of organic foods, the group initially grew citrus fruits, corn, carrots, and cassava, before diversifying their crop to include coffee as well.
According to Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a US $400 Banco Fie loan enabled Felipa to purchase supplies and expand the coffee and cassava plantations. Once she had received training and financial support, the group could expand their crop and boost their yield. Felipa says that when Bolivian women have a project in mind, there is little that will get in their way; they are determined to fulfill what they set out to achieve. Banco Fie played a vital role in this process by providing access to credit fast.
By the end of 2012, Banco Fie had a loan portfolio of US $695 million serving a total of 183,394 borrowers. Of these borrowers, 54% were female and 20.5% were rural, two groups which typically have the least access to traditional credit. Banco Fie operates 127 branches throughout Bolivia and has created jobs for 2,785 employees (1,119 of whom are female).