Three finalists for the 2017 European Microfinance Award announced

The European Microfinance Award is a prestigious €100,000 award which attracts applications from financial institutions around the world that are innovating in a particular area of financial inclusion. Presented annually, it serves two parallel goals: rewarding excellence, and collecting and disseminating the most relevant practices for replication by others.

The 2017 Award "Microfinance for Housing" is intended to highlight the role of microfinance in supporting access to better quality residential housing for low income, vulnerable and excluded groups, with no or limited access to housing finance in the mainstream sector. It aims to recognize institutions that respond to complex housing needs of their target clients by providing them with a variety of financial and non-financial services.

On the 27th of September, the Selection Committee for the European Microfinance Award 2017, on “Microfinance for Housing”, composed of members of the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, European Microfinance Platform (e-MFP) and Inclusive Finance Network Luxembourg (InFiNe.lu), chose the three finalists who will go on to compete for the €100,000 prize: The First MicroFinance Bank Afghanistan; Mibanco of Peru; and Cooperative Tosepantomin of Mexico.

The three finalists provide different solutions to this complex challenge:

The First MicroFinance Bank (FMFB) Afghanistan has responded to war, natural disasters and lack of verifiable title with a home improvement loan, provided with construction technical assistance offered through a network of partner experts. Targeting rural clients and focusing on facilitating incremental building and home improvement, FMFB Afghanistan was noted for its focus on providing expert technical support and the flexibility of its loan terms, as well as the particularly challenging context in which it operates.

Mibanco is a Peruvian Bank that responds to a national housing deficit, overcrowding and poor quality building by offering three housing products, including a long-term, collateralised mortgage, an incremental home improvement loan and a water and sanitation connection product – all bundled with credit life insurance. Targeting microentrepreneurs and low-income salaried workers, Mibanco is notable for its considerable client outreach, diversity of demand-driven products, and strong partnerships with homeowners associations and construction materials suppliers.

Cooperative Tosepantomin is a Mexican cooperative that offers housing savings and loans combined with technical assistance to rural clients living in marginalised areas. Notable for its holistic approach to technical support, involving architecture planning, budgetary support and ongoing oversight of building processes, Tosepantomin was also recognised for its outstanding promotion of environmental responsibility through eco-friendly building techniques, recycling, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The winner will be chosen from the three finalists and announced by the President of the High Jury, His Royal Highness the Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg, on the 30th November 2017, at a ceremony hosted at the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg, during European Microfinance Week.

Read the full press release in English, French and Spanish

Visit the European Microfinance Award website

To learn more about the topic see our blog Launch of European Microfinance Award 2017 on Microfinance for Housing and NextBillion's blog Home Sweet Home: Mobilizing Microfinance for Housing.

Our video Why the European Microfinance Award? explains more about the aims and benefits of the Award: