The First MicroFinance Bank - Afghanistan
The First MicroFinanceBank - Afghanistan (FMFB-A) is the largest microfinance bank in Afghanistan serving low-income populations. In addition to providing loans, FMFB-A also offers savings products as well as local and international payment services.
The Housing Context
Impacted by a dramatic population growth due to job migration from rural to urban areas, and refugees escaping the conflicts and the war, the housing deficit increased to 1.5 million units in 2014. High birth rates over the last few decades and frequent earthquakes add to the picture. On the supply side, Afghanistan suffers from a lack of building codes, of quality materials and of skilled masters. The shortage of housing in urban areas led to an explosion of informal settlements with no access to basic services. Establishing clear land title is a major problem, and inappropriate regulatory framework prevents financial institution offering housing finance. Women face particular challenges, since men are typically the legal holders of the property.
The Housing Programme
Since 2008, with the support of grants and technical assistance from expert partners, FMFB-A has been developing housing services, based on regular and extensive marketing research.
The purpose of the housing improvement loan (HIL) is to improve the house conditions or to extend the house structure. It is offered mainly in urban areas. The terms and conditions are flexible and in 15 branches, the product is accompanied by construction advisory services: there are 11 engineers hired to provide clients with technical advice on house structure intervention projects as well as to disburse the loans. The Bank has also built 3 demo houses, where clients can experience and understand how to construct, add units or renovate the structure of their house.