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Community Contribution

CLA Enables Gender Transformative Change in Honduran Bank

Billy Rodríguez, Erwin Alvarez

In Honduras, traditional gender and social norms create significant financial and economic barriers for women. Women are more likely to report finance as a significant constraint than men, and only 13% of women-led SMEs are served by banks. LAFISE Bank, a Honduran financial institution, saw an opportunity to take a leadership role to innovate and close the gender financial gap by launching the Pyme Mujer program in collaboration with USAID, the IFC, and the DFC.

Through partnerships and building a culture of continuous learning and improvement, LAFISE Bank navigated the challenges of an organizational transformation to adapt its culture, processes, and systems to better serve women-owned SME clients. In its first year, LAFISE Bank has surpassed expectations by disbursing over $2.2 million in new loans to women-owned SMEs. Based on the success of this first phase, the bank is now expanding the model to all 19 branches in Honduras in 2023 and regionally in four new countries in Central America.

USAID/Honduras and ACDI/VOCA, through the Transforming Market Systems (TMS) Activity, have also undergone significant changes to create the necessary conditions for CLA with local partners. These changes include allocating more funding partner MEL systems, making spaces for Pause and Reflects, motivating client feedback, and facilitating strategic alliances. Together, we are continuously learning how to better engage and support local partner organizations to lead change in the systems in which we work.

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