Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Opportunity International CEO Conference

On October 24 and 25, there was Opportunity International CEO Conference held in Franshhoek, S. Africa. Franshhoek means "French Corner" that is 45 minutes away from Cape Town and is known for its Alps-looking mountenous scenery and wineries.

Originally, this conference was organized as OI Africa CEO Conference. But OI Network has newly appointed the CEO for its GMO (Global Microfinance Operations) and this new CEO wanted to conduct a brainstorming session on OI's triple bottom lines with the 9 CEOs in Africa
and 2 CEOs in Eastern Europe. Along with him, Chairman of the OI Network Board was also in attendance and so are many other GMO chiefs, such as Chief Financial Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Information Officer, Chief Auditor and a few functional directors for African regions. There was a group of 26.

On the first day, all country CEOs gave a short presentation about how they are performing in their respective countries, YT September, and a snapshot budget for 2012 and their funding needs. On behalf of UOB staff, I was pleased to report how God has been graciously blessing UOB and its clients for the first nine months of 2011. A 77% growth in loans and 48% growth in deposits, operational self sustainability of 111% in September, an excellent PAR>30 of 0.74%, significant client growth, improved productivity and efficiency, apparent progress in client transformation etc.

Moreover, I was only one presenting that was not in need of additional funding for 2012, while all others asked for additional funding, except for Eastern European implementing members, since we have already secured all funding required for the projected growth of almost 50%. We praised the Lord! Besides, we were projecting an annual OSS of 102% with a projected ROE of 10%, the mandated maximum ROE.

On the second day, we spent an extensive amount of time brainstorming about OI's triple bottom lines: Transformational Impact, Sustainability and Outreach. Normally I remain quiet in the conference unless there are essential issues to be discussed. But I was encouraged by both the OIN Chairman as well as the new GMO CEO to speak up and share our experiences at UOB. I ended up presenting the Christ-centered, client-focused service graphs that are tied to the OI's triple bottom lines and triple transformational impact graphs. They all liked it and I was happy to share what has been used at UOB. The leadership also asked us to assist other implementing members to enhance their client transformation efforts, such as Holistic Life Improvement modules. Absolutely!

It was an intensive two-day meeting, but we all felt encouraged by the OIN executive leadership's commitment to the Christian-faith and to transformation. We all left hopeful for the progress to be made over the next six months or so until we meet and report the progress. May our good Lord bless the OIN leadership to steer the largest Christian microfinance organization in the world into the right direction where God's glory may be manifest in an uplifting way! - Jeffrey

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