Nicaraguan community banks take precautions
MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Before concerns about the global coronavirus epidemic were in the public consciousness, a Bahá’í-inspired community banking program in Nicaragua took the lead in implementing security measures to money processing and has arranged for transactions to take place online and over the phone.
“These banks are founded on the Bahá’í principles of service and concern for the well-being of all,” says the program’s national coordinator. “Thus, with the economic challenges and the evolution of the health crisis, we have not only been aware of the continuity of vital services that support the economic life of the community, but also to ensure that our operations do not put pressure on us. people in danger. ”
The program works by providing training to groups of 10 to 30 people, who then begin to save small amounts and provide small loans to bank members at a reasonable rate. The banks are run entirely by the members themselves and the interest earned is distributed proportionally according to the amount each person has in savings. As the bank grows, it is also able to provide financial support for community social and economic development initiatives.
Over the past 15 years, the program has grown in Nicaragua to serve several localities and is recognized throughout the country for its distinctive approach.
“The experience of banks and the underlying principles informed their response to the global health crisis,” says the national coordinator. “We recognize that we are not just companies going about our own business, but that we are here to serve the common good. We have a responsibility to be an example of sound and safe business practices in these times. “