Raising the Stakes for FINCA in Tanzania

Dominik Shweizer, a Credit Suisse employee, joined FINCA in Tanzania for Credit Suisse’s Global Citizens Program in 2015. Since 2010, Credit Suisse has been partnering with FINCA to provide financial and banking expertise on microfinance projects globally. The multinational financial services firm’s Global Citizens Program places Credit Suisse employees with FINCA projects for 1–12 weeks, to share their skills and expertise with our local staff. Dominik’s task was to impart his knowledge about Six Sigma—a set of techniques and tools for business process improvement—with FINCA staff in Tanzania. He shares his insights from his time in the country.

“I was highly motivated to join FINCA for three months as it allowed me to use my skills to help people grow. At the same time, I hoped to learn more about the reality of poverty and living in a developing country. I also wanted to learn more about microfinance, especially about how financial services could contribute to improving lives.

In the improvement project I worked on with Tanzanian staff, we found that opening an account for a new client took one and a half hours on average whereas sales people had been communicating 10 minutes to customers in the field. As a solution, we created one streamlined process to avoid redundant steps and unnecessary waiting time for account registration. With this process improvement, accounts are now being opened in the range of 20 to 30 minutes, benefiting both FINCA and the customers. The FINCA clients I interacted with clearly appreciated FINCA for the longstanding relationships and for the loans. At the same time, they had clear ideas of what needed to improve in terms of infrastructure, process and waiting times.

What I’ve taken away is that efficient microfinance is more an art than a business. The picture of a balance emerges: between making customers happy and making FINCA happy. Between old and new. Between trust and control. Between loans and savings. The Six Sigma tools are there. Now FINCA Tanzania can make it happen.”