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Founders of the first village bank in Ecuador

The traditional banking system relies on credit scores, collateral and other quantitative data to approve clients and credit facilities.  At the other end of the spectrum we find village banks, which provide small loans to low income individuals and small (sometimes informal) businesses.  Village banks usually focus on a small geographical area, engage with local families and communities, and are built on the basis of trust.  Village banks make their lending decisions on the personal and community relationships, giving community members opportunities to access financing, despite the fact that they do not have guarantees or a credit history. 

The first village bank in Ecuador was founded in 1994 in the coastal community of  La Sequita, province of Manabí.  Little did the 17 women founders know then, that this milestone would help transform the lives of more than 190,000  Ecuadorian people through access to microcredits.  The bank, named Maria Auxiliadora, was originally founded by the North American Foundation Project HOPE and in 2002 HOPE transferred the execution of the program to Fundación Espoir (FE) with all its assets, credit portfolio, and personnel. 

“By being part of this group, I was able to apply for my first loan.  I remember it was for 150,000 sucres (today US$6.09) and it encouraged me to initiate a small business and helped me overcome an illness.  Today, I am 74 years old, and I would not qualify for a bank loan, but with Fundación Espoir I have the opportunity to continue taking out loans.”  says Nayda Laz Anchundia, founding member of María Auxiliadora village bank.

Investing in women

In the years that followed, Fundación Espoir continued to support vulnerable communities using the group lending model, specifically for women clients which make up 75% of total clients. Under this modality, group members guarantee each other’s loan repayment.  In the particular case of Fundación Espoir, groups have an average of 13 community members who are usually from the same neighborhood. Group loans are mostly used for working capital. Group members receive education and life insurance coverage with medical assistance.

Today, Fundación Espoir is a non-profit organization that focuses on the provision of financial services with a gender lens, including individual and group micro-loans and micro-insurance. In addition to financial services, FE provides financial and business training (both in groups and one-on-one education sessions during credit evaluation). They currently provide 400 jobs (65% of which are for women), and have 5 regional offices, 12 agencies, and 8 service points in 6 different provinces. FE was the first non-governmental organization to successfully enter the Ecuadorian stock market and has been recognized as one of the best microfinance institutions in Latin America and the Caribbean, trusted by national and international organizations.

“For us, a credit group is not only the space where a loan is received, it is the space where women begin a path of transformation and support for their families.  75% of our clients are women, many of them are heads of households, single mothers, widows, divorced or simply represent the strongest income in the family; we are cheered to support them. It is very enriching to see how these women have gained confidence and strength, and not only generate their own income, but also have a voice in the family and in their community. We are proud to see this momentum also reach new generations.”  Francisco Moreno, Executive Director, Fundación Espoir. 

When women access credit, the impact on their lives goes beyond the financial aspect.  Women become empowered and grow on a personal level, their quality of life improves, and this is reflected on the family as a whole. Women are key drivers of economic prosperity and equality. When women earn income, they spend 90% of it on their households, including food, healthcare, and education. This creates a virtuous cycle of improved family and community well-being. 

“One of the most impactful stories is from our client Neda Anchundia from the village bank in the “Cercita” (a municipality). She told us that at first, she even had difficulty going to the village bank meetings because her husband wouldn’t allow her. And now it’s her husband who reminds her that it’s the day of the meeting. She went from being voiceless and powerless to being a woman with a voice and owner of her life and business.”  Claudia Moreno, Deputy CEO, Fundación Espoir.

Rebuilding the economy

The pandemic in Ecuador caused significant consequences as it triggered a rebound in poverty and amplified the macroeconomic imbalances, despite the challenging COVID-19 crisis, Fundacion Espoir and its clients have been resilient and have continued working hard and pushing their communities forward, helping to rebuild their economy. For example, when FE was forced to stop in-person meetings in early March, they developed 71 educational videos by the end of that same month.  The videos were shared via WhatsApp to maintain their business training support to their clients during those challenging times.  Their new approach was successful. Even though some of their customers did not have a smartphone with data connection, 60% had access to these videos which covered topics such as Covid-prevention, hygiene, mental health, family activities, among others. The rapid production and distribution of the instructive videos highlights their ability to adapt and provide during challenging times and use of the videos for learning on behalf of their clients demonstrates their commitment to grow. This correlates with Deetken’s continued commitment to making a difference, even during challenging times. 

At Deetken Impact, we have a deliberate and intentional commitment to making a difference in the lives of women and girls and Latin America.  It is through investing in organizations like Fundación Espoir, a pioneer of the group lending model in Ecuador, that we are able to have a meaningful impact towards gender equity and contribute towards the region’s sustainable development, while providing competitive financial returns to our  investors. Together with Pro Mujer, we manage the Ilu Women’s Empowerment Fund, an innovative gender-lens impact investment fund to advance gender leadership and economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean. 

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Magali Lamyin, Director of Communications and Development for Deetken Impact

MAGALI LAMYIN

Director of Communications and Development

 

Magali brings extensive market intelligence, business development and marketing experience from her work at the Central Bank of Mexico, the Canadian Institute for Market Intelligence, and the IESE-PWC e-Business Centre in Barcelona. She also co-led national marketing campaigns for businesses in the hospitality and early childhood education sectors for almost a decade before joining Deetken. In her current role, she is responsible for leading Deetken Impact’s communications, marketing and branding strategy. She is also involved in the due diligence process for project selection with an emphasis in Mexico.

Magali holds a BA in Economics from Mexico's ITAM and a Master's degree in Economics from the University of British Columbia.

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Jose Lamyin, Managing Partner Deetken Impact

JOSE LAMYIN

Managing Partner

 

José has extensive experience as a business advisor for clients throughout Canada, Europe and Latin America in mining, telecommunications, and finance. Prior to co-founding The Deetken Group, José worked for Teck Cominco in Peru and Canada and Deutsche Bank in London (UK). José has spearheaded much of the strategic growth of Deetken Asset Management since inception and is currently focused on investment selection.

José received his BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and MBA from IESE School of Business (Barcelona). Born in Peru, José is fluent in English and Spanish.

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Alexa Blain, Managing Partner Deetken Impact

ALEXA BLAIN

Managing Partner

 

Alexa is responsible for finance, operations and investor relations at Deetken Impact. She brings over 10 years of experience in financial consulting and asset management, with specific expertise in company and investment analysis, business valuation and securities/corporate finance. Prior to joining Deetken, she spent three years with African Alliance, a pan-African financial services group, where she focused on expanding the firm’s retail financial services operations as well as on the origination and negotiation of new capital. In addition, Alexa has six years of asset management experience with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Macquarie Group and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Alexa is a CFA Charterholder. She has also completed an MA in Financial Economics and an Honours BA in Economics, both at the University of Toronto.

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FERNANDO ALVARADO

CEO

Honduras Renewable Energy Managers (HREM) and Caribbean Renewable Energy Managers (CAREM)

 

Fernando Alvarado leads the General Partner and Investment Advisor of two clean energy and energy efficiency project finance and venture capital funds: Honduras Renewable Energy Financing Facility (H-REFF) and Caribbean Basin Sustainable Energy Fund (CABEF), which he structured and runs with a combined target capitalization of $100m.

Development Investment Banker with 28 years of international credit and investment experience and 18 years of direct experience assessing diversified renewable energy portfolios in Latin America & the Caribbean. He has participated in more than 50 syndicated credit and investment transactions for renewable energy projects in excess of $250 MM. He led the creation, structuring, fundraising, legal closing and portfolio construction of several specialized renewable energy funds.

Costa Rican, based in San Jose, Mr. Alvarado has an MBA in Banking and Finance cum laude from Universidad de Costa Rica.

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Carl Black, Portfolio Manager Deetken Impact

CARL BLACK

Portfolio Manager

 

Carl is a Portfolio Manager with Deetken Impact focused on analyzing and working with MSMEs, social enterprises, and renewable energy developers in Latin America and the Caribbean. His main responsibilities include supporting business development, managing technical assistance projects, leading investment due diligence, and monitoring portfolio performance. Prior to joining Deetken Impact, Carl worked for five years as a consultant, advising public sector clients an non profits in Canada and financial services companies in Latin America. He started his career at the Bank of Canada, where he researched issues related to household and business credit. 

Carl completed an Honours BA in Economics at the University of British Columbia. He also holds an MSc in Economics & Development from the University of Oxford, where he earned distinctions in quantitative and development economics.

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CRISTOBAL AGUIRRE

Investment Analyst

 

Cristobal has over 6 years of experience in the asset management industry, where his responsibilities have ranged from asset allocation and portfolio management to risk analysis and software development. Before relocating to Canada, Cristobal worked as a senior investment analyst in AFP Habitat—Chile’s largest pension fund—where he led the tactical asset allocation and macroeconomic research for emerging markets.

Cristobal is a CFA Charterholder, and completed a BA in Economics at Universidad de Chile.

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CHAD PARSONS

SeniorInvestmentAnalyst

 

Chad has worked as a consultant in business and technology for 20 years – often helping clients with their business transformation initiatives.    He has worked with start-ups, government, and established businesses to further their product and service offerings with a balanced approach.   After pursuing a research degree on leveraging technology for social and economic development; Chad has found a valuable alignment of his background with Deetken’s innovative impact investments. 

Chad completed a BS in Engineering from the University of British Columbia and has a MSc with distinction from the University of Manchester (UK).

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