Helping Women in Mexico to Build Better Lives
Contigo, a financial services provider in Mexico, joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with a commitment to launch a home improvement loan product aimed at reaching 25,000 under-served families by 2019.
With a special focus on improving the lives of women entrepreneurs and their families, Contigo offers an array of financial products to communities that lack access to formal banks. With its complete range of lending products, the company estimates it will assist a total of 644,000 customers by 2019, 90 percent of them women. As its product line and customer base continue to grow, the company plans to create a professional career track for 4,500 trained employees in Mexico by 2019.
Contigo is dedicated to changing lives by offering financial services that improve clients lives and livelihoods while generating positive employee, shareholder and supplier relationships. Unlike many lending providers, Contigo's mission is focused on customers: its services are specifically aimed at women entrepreneurs who provide support for their families. The average household income of this customer base is below $650 per month, which amounts to an average of $5.40 per family member per day.
In Mexico, where there is a severe shortage of housing, many bottom-of-the-pyramid families homes are built illegally and are structurally unsound. Overcrowding results in unhealthy living conditions, heightens the risk of domestic violence and contributes to a range of health problems. Recognizing that women at the bottom of the pyramid are underserved by the financial sector, Contigo provides affordable financial services in 22 states across Mexico, with plans to reach 30 of the country's 32 states in the next five years.
Because of the shortage of quality housing in Mexico and the average number of household members residing in each dwelling, the potential impacts of Contigo's products are enormous: the company's goal is to improve the lives of 2.5 million people within five years. Increasing the availability of sound and stable housing is essential to ensuring Mexican families prosperity, enhancing health, supporting livelihoods and strengthening the fabric of communities. All this contributes to more robust economic development.
When Contigo enters a community, its financial advisors conduct outreach to inform potential customers about its products and help customers in financial management to mitigate the risk of over-indebtedness. Upon approval, branch managers visit customers on site and disburse loans through debit cards or money orders. Financial advisors then meet with customers each week to provide support with loan management and repayment.
Contigo expects the revenue from its new home improvement loan to reach 12 percent of its total portfolio within five years. To manage this growth, the company is committed to attracting new talent and developing human resource potential through training expanding career-track job opportunities. Experience has shown that growth depends on hiring people from the communities Contigo serves; this not only ensures high impact but develops a cadre of committed local professionals.