23 December 2021

Solidarity Bankers is a skills volunteering programme launched by the Foundation and Crédit Agricole S.A. in 2018. The programme has a twofold objective: on the one hand, support microfinance institutions and social impact enterprises financed by the Foundation with technical assistance, and on the other hand, enhance the skills of Group employees who want to invest themselves in projects with high social impact.

OXUS Kyrgyzstan is a microfinance institution, which aims at providing financial services to the working poor and under-banked in Kyrgyzstan. Andreas Brunner, Supervisor Internal Audit at Crédit Agricole Assurances, accompanied the institution in the definition of an annual marketing plan.

Feedback on the programme with Denis Khomyakov, CEO of OXUS Kyrgyzstan.  

  • Presentation: Can you present your microfinance institution? Key figures, mission and approach, clients, structure…

The company was created in 2006 by OXUS Group and ACTED (main shareholder). The mission of our institution is to be a transparent and responsible enterprise committed to providing financial services to the working poor and the under-banked in Kyrgyzstan. The company is located in 5 out of 7 regions in Kyrgyzstan, has 15 branches and 135 employees. Nowadays we have around 9 500 clients, with outstanding loan portfolio of 800 million KGS (USD 9.4 million). 50% of OXUS clients are women and 63% of their clients are coming from rural areas.

  • You benefited from a Solidarity Banker mission in 2021 to structure an annual marketing plan and a loyalty programme. Why was this important for your institution?

A properly designed and well-functioning loyalty programme will increase the retention rate of clients, while attracting new ones. The marketing plan should allow the company to structure the resources allocated to marketing activities in a more efficient way. Those two deliverables of the Solidarity Banker mission will allow us to better value the offer of OXUS Kyrgyzstan.

  • How did you prepare the mission before the Solidarity Banker came?

We spent a lot of time on selecting the priorities that we wanted to cover with the Solidarity Banker. We prepared the full documentation about the company, its clients, its activities, the current run of the business and a list of the people involved in future projects. We organised several calls with Andreas to discuss what we wanted to do in terms of marketing and how to do it. The preparation phase was capital for the success of the mission.

  • What did you expect from the Solidarity Banker? Do the results match your expectations?

I actually expected a consultancy with some documents as deliverables. What we received: a detailed training from a marketing specialist! Andreas, the Solidarity Banker, conducted interviews and trained all the people involved in the marketing process, from loan officers and branch managers to the CFO and COO. The result is fantastic and we use now the documents created with Andreas. Those documents are 100% adapted to our reality. The mission was excellent and beyond all expectations.

  • What were the priorities defined following the recommendations made?

The priority is to fine-tune the marketing plan for 2022 and implement it. The loyalty programme is also a work in progress, but presupposes the implementation of the 2022 marketing plan. We are looking forward to implementing both projects.