The break-up of the Soviet Union and Georgia’s declaration of independence in April 1991 was followed by civil wars in 1992-1995. These conflicts resulted in the collapse of the economy and the scattering of approximately 300,000 IDP’s from the conflict affected regions throughout the country. As a result, together with the changes brought about by the collapse of the Soviet Union, Georgia’s fledgling market economy has been seriously impacted.
In 1997, WV started the “Georgia’s Entrepreneurs’ Fund” (GEF). WV/GEF’s mission is providing sustainable financial services to the entrepreneurial poor and Georgian micro- and small businesses, with a preference for rural activities and those businesses that create income and employment opportunities for the poor. Its vision is to enable the poor to increase household incomes and reduce their vulnerability, enabling them to build a meaningful, sustainable and self-determined livelihood.
The year 2002 was a milestone for WV/GEF and could be considered as a new start of the program; support from CIDA enabled growth from a one-branch operation with a small portfolio to start branches in Kutaisi and Batumi, double the portfolio and triple the number of clients. Strong growth continued since then with new branches in Akhaltsikhe and Borjomi.
In 2005 WV/GEF obtained local registration in Georgia, thus transforming into an indigenous legal entity. Vision fund International, a California based microfinance corporation managing a USD 70,000,000 portfolio invested in 45 MFIs, will be the Founder of this entity. WV/GEF upon registration continued operations under the name VisionFund CREDO Foundation, shortened as CREDO. Vision Fund is wholly owned by World Vision International.
Because of a new law on microfinance VisionFund Credo non-commercial non-entrepreneurial entity has established a new company in December 2007, LLC MicroFinance Organisation Credo. The new Credo has been licensed by the National Bank of Georgia as an MFO and VisonFund Credo transferred all the rights and obligations of outstanding loan agreements to LLC MFO Credo.
2008- has been successful year for MFO Credo. Motivation to effectively combat the economic stagnation; and desire to grow and adjust to the changing times, has been positively reflected on our growth rate-100% in both number of clients and portfolio.
2009 - year has been a remarkable year for innovative projects and organizational steadiness. The projects include formation of Credo's strategic plan, the New Repayment System for improved quality service, Social Audit and Credit Life Insurance. Another, major milestone for the year is the expansion of operations in the new region of Kakheti. Despite worsening of the economic recession, Credo managed to maintain PAR 0,92 % for 19 990 519 US Dollar portfolio and continued the rapid growth in number of clients reaching 22 892 by December 31, 2009. Credo received Silver Category Award from MIX market for achievements in Social Performance.
In 2010 - Credo became leader between microfinance organizations serving 43 172 customers and PAR of 0.02% for 33 960 677 US Dollar portfolio. Credo expanded geographically by opening two new branches majorly with rural positioning. Major improvement in the sphere of social performance has been research and formation of poverty assessment tool so called, Poverty Scorecard to better focus on target market, to measure the impact of products offered, and most importantly to offer more flexible, convenient, responsible products and services to our customers.
2011 - Credo maintained status of leader and innovator organization on Georgian microfinance market. The year closed with 64 526 active customers, 54 666 464 US Dollar portfolio, and 0.01% PAR. Rural positioning of the organization strengthened by opening six new and by expanding two existing branches. Credo offered Credit Purchases by Card, installed repayment machines in all branches and introduced own payment terminals at household equipment shops. Considerable steps towards achievement of social mission has been launching of Responsible Finance Campaign and financing number of community social events.
2012 - Marked out by introducing Start up Loans in cooperation with KIVA, Credit Purchases by Card for Agriculture Purposes - Crop Cards and most importantly loan application through Short Message Services. Credo opened eight new and expanded two existing branches with rural positioning. The year closes with 95 464 active customers, 96 456 398 US Dollar portfolio. Credo received MFC and Smart Campaign Award for The Best Practice in Customer Over Indebtedness Prevention, launched Poverty Score Card system, and financed large scale community social activities.
2013 - Distinguished by deepening outreach in regions, Credo opened ten new rural branches consequently covering all regions of Georgia. The year closed with 139,428 active clients and 132,587,732 US Dollar Portfolio. New product – NEO loans has been created, which enables accessibility to financial services to one of the lowest segments employed in micro and small businesses. Credo developed organizationally, number of staff increased by 315 employees. First Credo summer academy founded and conducted. Particular emphasis was paid to environmental and social projects impacting socially insecure 1748 beneficiaries out of which 850 were children and 158 people with special needs.
2014 - Access Microfinance Holding AG (AccessHolding), responsAbility Investments AG (responsAbility), Triodos Investment Management BV (Triodos) and VisionFund International (VisionFund) announce that the sale of VisionFund’s microfinance institution in Georgia, Microfinance Organization Credo, LLC (Credo), to a consortium of social impact investors comprising AccessHolding and funds managed or advised by responsAbility and Triodos.
2015 year was closed with USD 177 million loan portfolio and 197 thousand active clients. Credo opened 9 new branches in different regions of Georgia and was presented by 59 branches in total. Credo opened 33 cash desks and our customers are able to use remittances and different currency operations. Overall, in 2015 the market share in number of active clients was increased by 1 percent (Credo owns 51 percent) and the market share in portfolio was increased by 2 percent.