A LEADING RURAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IN ALBANIA
FED Invest, formerly known as ASC Union, is the continuation of the first microfinance project implemented in Albaniaby the World Bank in 1992. The initiative, considered as highly successful, turned into aconsolidated institution with clear missions, policies, strategies and long term financial objectives. The first Savings Credit Associations (SCAs) were created as a result and grewvery rapidly in terms of outreach and financial activity due to their unique and strong socialrooting in the local communities.
As of the end of 2015, FED Invest operates in 1.100 villages dispersed through 17 districtsof Albania, with a total of 40,432 family members. SCAs’ activity is based at the heart ofthe villages and is inspired by the financial cooperative model, such as Raiffeisen Bank.This is the reason why FED Invest is 100% owned by its membership and is among the solenon-for-profit cooperative institutions in Albania. In addition to its 84 SCAs and a staff of174 persons, FED Invest has a regional head-office in each of the covered districts withspecialized staff and adequate micro-banking infrastructure.
FED Invest’s activity relies in addition to the support given by 784 local representatives(SCA board members), who work as volunteers at a local level and are directly elected bythe rural membership. The central office is located in Tirana. All SCAs have their individualboards with distinguished representatives from the rural community. They follow threeprinciples: their self-creation, their self-management and their self-responsibility.
On the financial side, FED Invest products are focused quasi-exclusively on ruralentrepreneurs and farmers considering that close to 45% of Albania’s population livesin rural areas. FED Invest membership is composed by farmers, artisans, traders andother rural service providers. Its financial products are dedicated to productive activitiestherefore the target clientele concerns solely rural entrpreneurs and farmers. FED Investis the Albanian rural leader in microcrediting farmers and rural entrepreners.
Loan and savings products are of the two core products provided to the membership. Theloan portfolio is mainly comprised of micro-loans and SME loan. Both types are offered inlocal and euro currency with the exclusive purpose to finance “rural productive activities”for agricultural, livestock, trade, services and handicraft purposes. The average loan in2014 was of 2.150 euros.
FED Invest offers as well trainings and different technical assistance for its ruralmembership such as business plan writing, market analysis, financial know-how, agri-input identification etc. The objective of this technical assistance is to boost on the onehand, the economic development of the rural economy, but also on the other hand, tostrengthen the operational skills of SCAs regarding accounting, financial operation, wellfunctioning of elected bodies, compliance with legal requirements and so on.
FED Invest’s mission is to provide financial services for rural area inhabitants, basicallyexcluded from the traditional banking system, in order to promote productive activities, theimprovement of their living standards and rural development.
FED Invest is a Saving and Credit Association (SCA) based on the recently approved legislation of 2016. It is fullyowned by its members based on the financial cooperative philosophy, and has evolved overtime to a fully operational financial cooperative composed by SCAs and their Union. Inthis regard, its governance structure has a double layer with both, SCAs and their Union,having independent but interoperable General Assemblies and Boards.
FED Invest activity is focused exclusively on rural entrepreneurs and farmers living inrural areas, considering that they represent more than 45% of Albania’s total population.Its activity and model are inspired from the cooperative spirit and strongly rely on theprinciples of reciprocal trust, volunteerism and solidarity
The Savings & Credit Associations have adopted a unique and innovative approachcompared to the traditional offer of the financial services market in Albania. Built on theinitial support given by their international partners, FED Investis consideredas being a bestpractice in access to rural financing in Albania. 100% of FED Invest assetsare possessed by its members, which makes it a thorough cooperative in its spirit andownership.