About 48 microfinance institutions in Tanzania have assented to a code of conduct that will greatly improve delivery of services to micro-borrowers, a statement issued in Dar es Salaam on Sunday 4th January 2011 has said.

The statement issued by Tanzania Association of Microfinance Institutions (TAMFI) board of directors, affirms that the document is the first code of standards of practices for Microfinance Institutions in Tanzania.

The press release calls on clients of microfinance institutions to VOICE their concerns with regard to quality of services and practices of their respective service providers.

TAMFI has set up a phone number-  0764 668 331, which small scale and medium enterprise borrowers  can use to complain about micro-finance institutions that will fail to adhere to the code of conduct.  The 48 institutions that have signed up for  the code of conduct are members of TAMFI.

“To the Tanzania Microfinance Industry this is a great achievement towards developing a well organized and responsible microfinance sector.  With this code of conduct, TAMFI members are expected to take a leading role to deliver high quality and responsible financial services to the community.

The code is intended to make Microfinance Institutions become more responsive to the clients they serve,” says the statement signed by Winnie Terry TAMFI Executive Secretary.

The code of practice requires microfinance institutions to disclose interest rate and other service costs to their members through loan contracts, advertisements, brochures, and notice boards.

It also states that loan contract is borrower’s right and a copy of loan repayment schedule should be provided to the borrower.

The code also says that loan contracts should be clear, understandable  and use national local language (Kiswahili).

The code requires lenders to provide verbal explanations to all clients, especially those who cannot read or write.

The statement says that the code requires staff to behave ethically when serving clients and calls for use appropriate money collection practices. At the same time the institutions are required to explain in full the consequences of late and non-repayments and collections procedures before they take their loans and during their loan repayments period.

The code also requires the institutions to have customer complaint resolution     mechanism which must include programmes to educate, make customers aware of their rights among other vital issues.

Among the 48 institutions subscribing to the code of conduct are Tujijenge Tanzania Limited, African Microfinance, Pride, Dar-es-Salaam Community Bank, Akiba Commercial Bank, CRDB Microfinance Services Company, SEDA, YOSEFO, PTF, SELF, OIKO Credit, K-Finance, FAIDERs among others. The full document is to be found at TAMFI website (www.tamfi.com) as well as the full list of members who have subscribed to the code of conduct.

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