The First MicroFinance Bank (FMFB-A) is part of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM), which has programmes in over 15 countries throughout the developing world. The First MicrofinanceBank (FMFB-A) has a commercial banking license and started operations in 2004. Its prime objective in Afghanistan is to contribute to poverty alleviation and economic development though the provision of sustainable financial services to the poor and under served.
To be recognized as the leading microfinance services provider contributing to poverty alleviation and economic development through the provision of sustainable financial services primarily targeting at the micro and small businesses and households. To reduce poverty, diminish the vulnerability of poor populations and alleviate economic and social exclusion, it aims to help people become self-reliant and eventually gain the skills needed to graduate into the mainstream financial markets.
The bank has a clearly defined Mission which is encapsulated in the following six statements. This mandate guides both the board of supervisors and the executive’s decision making.
- The Bank will focus on providing sustainable microfinance and banking services to poor and vulnerable population, particularly women.
- The Bank will be sustainable by striving to cover all its operational costs through revenues, while also generating a modest surplus to finance expansion.The Bank will achieve broad geographical and service outreach by deploying in both rural and urban areas from the outset; it will aim to achieve national coverage as rapidly as possible.
- The Bank will develop and implement best practices in its procedures and systems, drawing on the experience of the Banks and programmes of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance , the previous experience of microfinance institutions and programmes in the region, and the experience of its management team.
- The Bank will work with the other First Micro Finance Banks, as well as the programmes of the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance to achieve regional and global consistency and uniformity in its delivery of financial services.
- The Bank will fulfill its objectives in meeting international environmental and safety standards and social obligations, including avoiding the funding of child and bonded labour, preventing the use of the Bank’s services for money laundering and terrorist financing, and discouraging drug production, trafficking and use.
The Bank is affiliated with the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) a group of nine development agencies working in health, education, culture and rural and economic development primarily in Asia and Africa.
Following the demise of the Taliban regime, AKDN established two microfinance programmes in the country, the Emergency Microcredit Programme and the Rural Microcredit Programme.
Based in Kabul, Pul-i-Khumri and their adjoining districts, the Emergency Microcredit Programme provided a financial safety net for retunes by offering credit for start-up, restarts and expansion of income generating activates in those areas.
In 2004, the urban portion of the Emergency Microfinance Programme in Kabul was converted into The First MicrofinanceBank with an initial capital of US$ 5 million invested by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) later joined by Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau (kfw), the institution was the first of its kind under the country’s new regulatory structure and was granted license #001 under the new banking law in the autumn of 2003. In 2005, the urban portions of the emergency microfinance programme in Pul-i-kumri and Mazar-e-Sharif were also absorbed into FMFB-A.
The Bank provides credit and saving products as well as domestic and international payment services. If focuses on micro-enterprises small business and the creation of productive sources of income and employment.
Beginning in Kabul and urban centers in the northeast of the country, the Bank is gradually expanding to all major urban and rural centers of Afghanistan with a view to reaching national coverage in the next years. The establishment of the Bank is an integral part of the AKDN’s commitment to contribute to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the economic infrastructure and civil society institutions in Afghanistan.