MicroVest today announced a $4 million investment in Cooperativa de Ahorro y Crédito Jardín Azuayo to facilitate expanded access to financial services for rural microentrepreneurs and SMEs in Southern Ecuador.
Financial cooperatives, which primarily originate microcredit and consumer loans, comprise approximately 25% of assets in Ecuador’s financial sector. They cater to the poorest segments of the population, and in recent years, the sector has expanded rapidly. This growth is attributed to several factors, including the ability to offer higher rates on deposits. (Deposits for financial cooperatives in Ecuador increased from 24% of the market in January 2016 to 34% as of February 2021 (IMF)).
Originally founded in 1996, Jardin Azuayo is a savings and credit cooperative that offers a range of financial products to underserved SMEs, self-employed microentrepreneurs, and salaried workers. Today it is the third largest cooperative in Ecuador by assets and operates 68 branches across the country. Jardin Azuayo serves approximately 687,000 members, of whom approximately 128,000 are active borrowers.
This is MicroVest’s second investment in the company.