About the event:
The non-profit microfinancing is still necessary in Hungary –Important results at the international microfinancing workshop in Budapest, co-organized by FEA
The workshop on the financing possibilities of the Hungarian Microfinance Sector was organized on 9 March 2016 in Budapest. The EaSI Technical Assistance event was designed in close collaboration with the Hungarian Microfinance Network and its leading organization, FEA. The organizers were the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, in partnership with Microfinance Centre and the European Microfinance Network.
The importance of the event was given by the new microfinancing instruments funded by the EU which will be initiated soon, but it is still not clear how the former intermediaries can participate in the new programmes. The non-profit MFIs (local enterprise development agencies) in Hungary have more than 20 years of experience and can reach their target group (micro and small entrepreneurs) very efficiently. They also offer numerous good practices in the management of local and European microfinance funds. Thus, it is obvious that the non-profit MFIs want to be involved in the managing the financial instruments in the new programming period as well.
Consequently, the main purpose of the event was to inform the audience about the new instruments of the European Commission and the possibilities in Hungary. The participants represented mainly non-profit MFIs and financial organizations.
The first workshop aimed at presenting the type of financial and non-financial support is available to microfinance institutions, with a specific focus on the Hungarian context. Cornelia Andrei, Policy Officer of the European Commission (DG EMPL) provided an overview on the EaSI programme. Silke Mueffelmann, EaSI Technical Assistance Team Leader described the services for non-bank microfinancing institutions in order to develop their services. Stefan Oberbichler, Investment Manager of the European Investment Fund presented the new instruments and funds of the EIF for MFIs, in line with the Europe 2020 objectives.
The second workshop, attracting great attention, focused on the Hungarian finance and assistance possibilities for MFIs. Krisztina Júlia Szabó, Head of Department, Ministry for National Economy, Deputy State Secretariat Responsible for Implementing Economic Development Programs, presented the priorities of the Economy and Innovation Development Operational Programme. The programme contains financial instruments which will be accessible for SMEs through the “MFB Pont” network.
Dr. Györgyi Nyikos, director of the Hungarian Development Bank showed the extended activities of the Bank with special regard to the outplacement of the EU-fundend financial instruments. She confirmed that the combined credit products will be launched again and in 2016, 75% of the funds will be opened with the lowest interest rates ever.
Szilvia Bencze, financial referent of Ministry of Agriculture presented the topic of SME financing from the point of view of the agricultural sector. Most of these enterprises are viable but not bankable, therefore a new financial instrument should be elaborated in the framework of the National Rural Development Programme.
Balázs Simó from the Hungarian Development Center described the “bridge” role of the institution, between the policy makers and final beneficiaries.
Dávid Kovács, director of Carion Ltd. presented their experience regarding the utilization of the funds for microfinancing, as the only institution in Hungary disbursing EIF funds.
During the next roundtable session, the microfinance practitioners got practical information on the adaptation of the European Code of Good Conduct for Microcredit Provision, developed by the European Commission. The discussion between experts and MFIs was moderated by Jorge Ramirez Puerto, general manager of the European Microfinance Network. The introduction and the proper implementation of the Code can be a requirement of MFIs who wish to get funds from the European programmes.
The presentations and the following professional dialogue made it clear that there is still demand for non-profit microfinancing. The MFIs can reach a special target group that is not relevant for the banking sector but has an important role in the local economy. In some special sectors, like agriculture, we see a higher concentration of viable micro enterprises for which the only chance to grow is microfinancing. For this, the intention of the non-profit MFIs to take part in the new European and national programmes is well grounded.