Loan officers are an integral part of the microfinance process. Without the hard work of loan officers, reaching the poor with financial services would not be possible. However, loan officers typically do not get very much attention. With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting for you to meet a friend of mine at YOSEFO to help give you a better understanding of how loan officers fit into the microfinance process.
At YOSEFO, each loan officer is assigned a community center. There are 13 centers serviced by the Dar es Salaam branch scattered throughout the urban area, primarily in poorer communities. During the week, each loan officer travels to their community center to have sessions with their clients. Each session consists of 40 clients, so loan officers typically meet with at least 400 clients every week. While conducting the community banking centers they collect repayments, disburse loans, and deal with issues that clients are facing. After traveling to the field, officers return to the YOSEFO office to record and process the transactions that took place throughout the day. The process can be tedious, but is crucial to ensure that collections, disbursements and defaults are recorded with the greatest possible accuracy.
Name: James Mwenda
Hometown: Njombe, Tanzania (Iringa Region)
YOSEFO Center: Vituka
Educational background: B.A. Geography and Environment
Favorite food: Ugali and Beef
Interests: Football, Traveling, Seeing new places, Singing, Gospel music
Future plans: I hope to return to University and obtain an M.B.A. in Human Resources Management
On working as a loan officer:
“Working as a loan officer is a challenging, but rewarding experience. I work with a very diverse group of clients that have different backgrounds and characteristics. My clients all respond to issues differently, and so it is often a challenge to learn how to deal with each client appropriately.
Not long after clients receive loans, I am able to observe improvements in their standard of living. It is not difficult to see actual physical improvements in my client’s live as a result of receiving loans. For example, some of my clients have been able to pay school fees for their children, and others have been able to purchase land for the first time. It is also rewarding to see my client’s ability to pay back loans improve over time as they graduate to larger and larger loans. Ultimately, working as a loan officer gives me the opportunity to learn the process of community development. I am able to actively organize and spearhead social development in the community.”