08 Jun Extending the outreach of remittances to rural Moldova
In Moldova, the sole financial service providers operating in remote parts of the country are the savings and credit associations (SCAs). The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) decided to partner with Moldova’s National Commission for the Financial Market to enable SCAs to become agents of cross-border remittances.
Ecaterina Meriacre is a 56 year old farmer. Her children emigrated and are now sending money home to help her develop and modernize her business.
“As remittances stopped during Covid-19, I had to take a loan from the SCA in my town to cover for the agricultural investments. People living in the rural areas of Moldova like us would prefer to receive remittances directly through SCAs, as these financial institutions are closer to us, and it would facilitate our access to other financial service. Remittances sent from abroad are very important for us. It is the funds from our children’s work, which gets invested in business and for which we do not have to pay interest”, said Ecaterina.
Valeriu Ciobra is from Moldova. He moved out of his home country to search for better opportunities, but the longing for its homeland made him return. From the money saved abroad, and the remittances saved by its family members in Moldova, Valeriu managed opened his own business, “Lavanda mea”, not only growing lavender, but also processing and making different lavender products. Valeriu relied on his local Savings and Credit Cooperative, named SCA Hrusova, to support financially his entrepreneurial activities.
“I would like SCAs to be able to manage the receipt of remittances from abroad, as this would provide remittance-receiving families a safe and efficient instrument to facilitate access to credit and benefit from other complementary financial services. Remittances in Moldova are one of a major financial supports for business development. Now, during this pandemic situation, when there is a stagnation of all national economic factors, remittances represented a safety pillow of support from my relatives and friends who work abroad” said Valeriu.
The project extended support to SCAs in complying with existing regulations as agents for transferring remittances as well as connecting them to the provider of payment services. IFAD supported the development of new SCA financial products that meet the needs of remittance families – promote existing savings products and/or develop new financial products based on remittances and provide loans that are attractive for rural businesses.
So far, all SCAs in areas of high migration have been assessed, and 47 have been selected to pilot the cross-border transfer innovation. The first cross-border remittance product through SCAs will be launched in July 2020.