Truelift is excited to announce that Opportunity Bank Serbia has achieved the Aspirant Milestone! Opportunity Bank Serbia (OBS), which is part of the Opportunity International Network, demonstrated their commitment to their mission to enable the economic transformation of their clients and families. Opportunity Bank Serbia was created in 2002 in order to provide financial services and sustain entrepreneurship for economically disadvantaged people living in rural areas. Today, it reaches over 22,000 people and has eight full services branches and fourteen credit offices across Serbia.
Opportunity Bank Serbia has shown its commitment toward poverty alleviation by completing the Truelift Indicators Tool and providing examples of their pro-poor practices. OBS has recently implemented a methodology for Social Performance Management and is now able to measure their performance and determine the social impact of their institution. For example, OBS has demonstrated the poverty outreach of their institution with a positive poverty gap: that is, the percentage of new clients living below the selected poverty line (in Serbia, it is the national line at ~25% households) is greater than the country rate at the selected line. 35% of OBS’s new clients have been categorized as poor, indicating the positive poverty gap. New OBS clients are categorized according to poverty level using their own methodology which is based on the official definition of poverty in Serbia.
The next step for their institution will be to enhance the measurement and tracking of their poverty practices. For example, OBS intends to implement the segmentation of its client data regarding their level of vulnerability in 2015. Opportunity Bank Serbia is also tracking the progress made by their clients over time through their employment evolution and soon they will use life quality indicators to determine the progress made by the whole household; the first sets of results are expected in 2015. Finally, their implementation of data collection and analysis of poverty and social indicators will allow Opportunity Bank Serbia to make data-based decisions and thus improve its strategy toward poverty alleviation and their commitment to the “development of local communities in the small, rural areas of Serbia, where access to financial services is difficult, yet very much needed”.
Congratulations to Opportunity Bank Serbia! We encourage other poverty-focused institutions to take the first step on the Pro-Poor Pathway. To learn more about the assessment process and the Truelift Indicators Tool, please click here.