Cooperative networks for savings and loans in emerging countries

Exchange of services, experience and good practices.

Financial Independence

The goal of the CICM is to set up sustainable cooperative networks of savings and loans, so as to contribute to the financial independence of populations in developing countries when call upon.

CICM intervention can either be :

  • creating a network from its inception;
  • supporting existing cooperative networks.

Executive training, whether for elected or staff members is a cornerstone of these interventions.

From the perspective of the individual, the leading principle of these networks is based on prior savings which in turn generates loans. The CICM is convinced that, from a macro economic perspective, stimulating the country’s internal savings is a sustainable alternative to external funding.

Independence in the daily management of the financial system

The aim being that in time, local populations can take charge of their own development. The rationale of the cooperative system is based on active participation of its membership in the management of their local branches.

In thirty years, the CICM has developed technical and consultative structures allowing the cooperative networks to exchange services, experience and good practices or gain knowledge in collective governance.

Diligent approach to the trade

The banking industry is highlgy regulated because of the risks to economic stability, as well as the social and political impact it may have on a country.

In banking the first quality is diligent management especially with regard to

  • risk assessment
  • compliance with prudential ratios.

Voluntary expatriate executives generate tools :

  • professionalisation
  • rooting strongly the institutions they create and support,

thus, allowing the CICM to sometimes anticipate new national regulations.


As early as January 1995, the CICM initiated a project to equip its networks with a software able to manage and secure transactions of withdrawals and deposits as well as loan operations. On these grounds SiBanque Management Information System (MIS) was born in October 1995.


Training has played and continues to play an essential role in the expansion of the CICM networks. In countries without a retail banking sector it is often difficult to identify individuals with the appropriate skills.

The CICM’s aim is to have autonomous networks. The transfer of control levers to local executives implies an important investment, over time and is dependent on the organisation’s evolution, in terms of management and technology.

Specific Products

The CICM networks start with basic products :

  • a savings passbook
  • a loan offer

As the networks mature, the products become more elaborate according to specific needs expressed by members through their representatives on the Board of Directors, such as :

  • term deposit
  • housing loans


In Africa, « No risk loans » are sought after. It is entirely guaranteed by the member’s savings and has a simplified procedure attached to it. With zero risk the rates are very low.
The advantage of the product is that it enables the members, while protecting their savings, to keep at bay family requests arguing they have a loan to repay.
Backed by social pressures, the product could not have been put in place without the help of elected members.

Credit risk management

The banking industry is governed by ratios that serve to ensure the risks involved do not jeopardise the organisation. Loan risk is the major concern of mutual networks, particularly as they come from the savings of other members which have to be protected by the local branch.

Loans are granted once the loan committee composed of elected and staff members, have appraised the technical study done by a staff member.

As the branch exposes itself to a risk, it is a collective decision by :

  • the staff members as the technicians and,
  • elected members as guarantors of the collective savings.

To ensure that the necessary procedures are put in place to protect the savings, CICM project managers bring the Crédit Mutuel’s technical know-how and experience.

Anti-money laundering

Another major risk in banking is money laundering.

Although cross-border activity between the networks is limited, it remains a very topical problem. If national diaspora revenue from the West are a considerable source of income for local development, suspect funds can worm their way in to legitimate family transfers.

The MUCODEC network in Congo has put in place a system to monitor and follow-up on international transactions, although the local authorities have yet to finalise the control mechanism to be implemented by the central bank.

The BIMAO created by the CICM, has also complied with international legal procedures, for instance for transactions in cash via Western Union.

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