BEES’s Microfinance program has been playing a vital role in changing the socio-economic condition of the target people since 1988. Earlier in 1980 as a project of CRWRC, in collaboration with Bangladesh bank and later with Rajshahi Krishi Unnoyan Bank (RAKUB), BEES started working under microfinance program. Currently, Microfinance is the major program of BEES and provides the much needed capital to the beneficiaries to implement in various fields of development activities which help them generate income for their families. It has truly orchestrated a way for poverty alleviation through microfinance along with human resource development, income generation and other promotional activities.
Beside self-employment, a large number of wage based employment opportunities are created every year. The beneficiaries are becoming graduated every year and they are receiving micro enterprise loan as entrepreneurs. The small businesses are creating employment prospects for the target population. The cycle is creating multiple positive impacts to reduce poverty. Microfinance now works in inclusive approach by providing health, education and agricultural support services. For increasing the self-sustainability and thereby improving the physical wellbeing, the demand of Microfinance fund has increased over years. Due to need and growth of this sector, BEES is borrowing from commercial banks including PKSF to increase the total outstanding gradually to meet the demand of its clients.
Goal of Microfinance
Enhancing the scope of social-economic uplift and empowering the disadvantaged people especially women through Microfinance.
BEES designed its Microfinance Program based on social realities and sustainable development. The major objectives of MF program` are:
Components of Microfinance Program
BEES’s microfinance program is a packaged program for socio-economic development and poverty reduction. The components of this program are:
BEES organized the rural and urban poor people under a formal samity office following certain rules and regulations under microfinance program.
BEES Microfinance program has three types of savings components, which are:
It is a compulsory savings for the members. Every group member of BEES deposits BDT 100 to 400 each week depending on the loan size. BEES gives BDT 6 per annum as interest to the accounts. They can withdraw 25% of yearly deposit twice a year. When the loan amount is paid, the member is free to leave BEES by withdrawing full amount of savings.
Enterprise Development Savings Program (EDSP):
This is a General Savings-Monthly product for BEES members. It is an opportunity for those members who are interested to receive Micro Enterprise Loan and want to be an entrepreneur. Members can deposit BDT 100 to 20000 on a regular monthly basis. The interest rate is 6-12% per annum for the consecutive three years.
Volunteer /Emergency Savings
This is another optional savings product for BEES members. Every member can deposit BDT 10 or more per week during the day of their samity office meeting. They are eligible to withdraw any amount whenever they want from their available balance. If any member leaves BEES, he/she can withdraw the total amount after recovering all the dues. The interest rate is same as General Savings-Weekly.
This is another optional savings product for BEES members. Any member can deposit BDT 20,000 or more. They are eligible to withdraw their deposited amount whenever they want from their available balance. If any of the members leave BEES, he/she can withdraw the total amount after recovering all the dues. The interest rate is same as General Savings-Monthly.
Credit is the most significant component of microfinance program. The members receive capital through credit facilities to fight against poverty. BEES has six different loan products; these are:
Jagoron (Basic credit facilities for rural and urban poor people)
This component is for the moderate poor of Rural and Urban areas who have cultivatable land less than 50 decimals. This is the major component of BEES Microfinance program. The individual loan range of the component is up to BDT 99,000. Borrowers can invest this loan in any legal income generating activities for their betterment.
Agroshor (Enterprise loan facilities for rural and urban small entrepreneur)
This component is especially designed for the members who graduate from BEES’s programs and manage to come out of the poverty trap. Individual loan range of the component is BDT 100,000 to 2,500,000. The program aims to create small entrepreneurs who will create wage based employment alongside self-employment. Through this program BEES promotes small enterprise, businesses and creates subsequent employment opportunities in both rural and urban areas.
A large number of members become graduated from normal program and come out of the poverty trap. This component is especially designed for them. Individual loan range of the component is BDT 100,000 to 2,500,000. The aim of the program is to create small entrepreneurs who will create wage based employment beside self-employment. Through this program, BEES promotes small enterprise, businesses and creates subsequent employment opportunities in both rural and urban areas.
Sufolon (Agricultural credit facilities for the farmers)
BEES, through this component disburses loan to the farmer for crop, livestock, fisheries and agriculture related business. Moreover, BEES disburses installment and seasonal loan based on the installment made by the loaner. BEES provides seasonal agriculture loan to its borrowers at the beginning of a particular season and collects it from farmers after harvesting. Therefore, the farmers can utilize agricultural inputs properly and they can avail materials to increase their production day by day.
Buniad (Credit facilities for the ultra-poor people)
BEES observed throughout the past years that, although the Microcredit program covers a large number of beneficiaries’, but in many cases, the ultra-poor remained deprived for multiple reasons. From our experiences, we realized that this sector required extra assistance and attention to come out of shadow of poverty. Thus, BEES initiated a specialized program that targets extreme poor including landless people at a subsidies rate. BEES also have provided IGA training to them.
Throughout the past years, BEES observed that even though its Micro-credit programs cover a large number of beneficiaries, but in many cases the ultra-poor remained left out due to a variety of reasons. From our experiences, we have realized that this sector required extra assistance and attention to come out of the shadow of poverty. Thus, BEES initiated a specialized program that targets extreme poor including landless people.
Sahosh (Disaster recovery credit facilities at subsidized rate)
Ultra-Poor, Moderate Poor and Pro-Poor, these groups get affected first by any disaster. Therefore, BEES has targeted these groups on a priority basis under Microfinance program. This program is specially designed to help the affected people to fight against all the natural calamities. To mitigate disaster, BEES provides loan to the affected borrowers at a yearly interest rate of 4 %. BEES also initiates relief and rehabilitation program for them.
Ultra-Poor, Moderate Poor and Pro-Poor, these groups get affected first by any disaster. Therefore, BEES have targeted these groups under Microfinance program. This program is specially designed to help the affected people to fight against all the natural calamities. To mitigate disaster, BEES provides loan to the affected borrowers at a yearly interest rate of 4%. BEES also initiates relief and rehabilitation program for them.
LRL (Livelihood Restoration Loan)
Main objective of Livelihood Restoration Loan (LRL) is to regenerate the economic activities of Covid-19 affected beneficiaries, including the creation of self-employment opportunities. Under this credit component, BEES is providing credit support for generating self-employment and rejuvenate the economic activities through considering the following areas:
LIF (Livelihood Improvement Financing)
Under the operating areas of BEES, this component is for any client who wants to improve his livelihood status and can take credit from this component as per certain loan policy.
WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)
To improve Water, Sanitation and Hygiene status for the clients, to reform institutions and improve WASH services, BEES introduced a new credit component named WASH. The major objectives of this component are to improve access and quality of water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).
Stimulus (Stimulus package program):
Bangladesh government has announced a stimulus package for the people as well as different individual sectors those are affected by covid-19. The package includes liquidity support for producers, exporters as well as small, medium, and large factories and business enterprises to boost up the domestic economy and cope up with the changing COVID-19 pattern. BEES is mobilizing fund from the investors like banks and disburses to the borrowers to make the program fruitful.
BEES has insurance component for its borrowers, which is:
Credit Risk Management Fund (CRMF)
CRMF is a Credit Risk/Insurance Component, through which BEES collect and deposit 1% amount during disbursing loan to the beneficiaries. It is deposited as welfare fund for that respective member and her families. It is credit insurance. If any of the borrowers or prime earning person of borrower’s family dies, rest of their loan amount will be adjusted by the Credit Risk Management Fund. Members will be eligible to get refund of their total savings after adjustment of remaining loan amount by this fund.
Social Services Components
To improve the socio-economic condition, BEES also provides awareness and capacity building training, IGA training and primary health care services. To improve these social services BEES has a Member Charter of following points:
Beside Microfinance, BEES initiated following support and evaluation program for strengthening and evaluating the main program.
This is the era of digital technology which has made work smoother and faster. BEES started automation for microfinance program through a web-based software named Infrasoft Tech. Currently It has a strong software development team and has an own developed Software which runs smoothly. Head office and all branch offices are now connected with BEES’s own central server. So, paper works has been reduced significantly. To monitor the status manually, concern staffs of MF program can monitor data of any branches in anytime.
Employment creation plays a significant role in reducing poverty. BEES has been creating self and wage based employment through disbursing loan to achieve its goal.
BEES emphasizes on the vertical expansion of its microcredit and other programs. It regularly analyzes its own activities, client’s needs and standard of its services and modifies its program accordingly. Continuation of existing programs, organizational reforms, development of organizational self-reliance, counting of collective action and more emphasis on women’s participation are some of the important strategic directions. Its future direction encompasses on promoting community participation, formation of homogenous groups, skill development, prioritizing income raising support, saving collection for making capital, collecting fund from financial institutes, donor agencies and, thus providing credit support at less cost. More emphasize will be given to support the micro enterprise to create more employment opportunities headway.
Beside audit report, BEES also assesses the quality and position of the organization by an External Rating Agency. Its Rating performance is now long-term AA- and short-term ST-1. It is boosting our spirit to work more dedicatedly in achieving our goal. The past review shows that the microfinance program of BEES is playing a significant role in fulfilling the target to achieve its goal. Beside institutional development, a large number of people are improving their socio-economic position. It is creating a large number of employments opportunities every year. We believe that BEES will serve its target population more dedicatedly and achieve its aspiration in the way of making a poverty free Bangladesh.