Narrative description of Project: The ultimate objective of the assignment is the establishment of a detailed 5-year business and implementation plan for the restructuring of SSDB’s micro and SME lending operations. This will entail an assessment of the overall institutional setup and governance of SSDB (taking into consideration documents that have already been produced by Unicons). An assessment of the current micro and SME lending operations of SSDB will not only evaluate in detail the current portfolios held in those segments by the bank but will also assess the organizational setup by which those operations are managed. More importantly, it entails an in-depth assessment of the underlying processes and procedures utilized, the underwriting standards applied, the capacity and qualifications available, the internal controls in place for the operations, as well as the information technology which those operations are based on. This exercise will update and build upon the assessment of MF operations previously undertaken by Unicons. The results of this exercise will form an integral part of the needs assessment of necessary institution and capacity building measures.

As a key ingredient for the financial projections to be established, a primary market survey on the demand for micro and SME lending was carried out. It is the objective of the market survey to provide a solid basis for the analysis of the gap between the supply and demand of financial services. Moreover, the results of the surveys provide in-depth information on the structure of the demand in terms of segmentation, regional distribution, product preferences, price elasticity of the target clientele and alike. The results of the primary survey will form the basis for the gap analysis and, ultimately, for the formulation of a product and marketing strategy for the business plan.

Based on the results of the previous assessment exercises, the consultancy team of experts will establish financial projections for a period of five (5) years. Core endogenous input elements to such projections will be the capacity / human resource building processes as well as the outbranching strategy. Exogenous factors will be the results of the market survey (demand and competition).

Based on the results of the previous assessment exercises, the advisory team will establish financial projections for a period of five (5) years founded on the results of the market survey, the capacity / human resource building processes as well as the out-branching strategy

Description of actual services provided by your staff within the assignment: In preparation for the project, Unicons formed a strong team of national consultants in the field of microfinance, Marketing research and related fields. Unicons staff managed the project in terms of contracting the consultants and arranging meetings with data collectors and top-level managers at SSDB.

Preceding the market survey, national consultants recruited 2 focus groups of micro and small entrepreneurs, translated and modified the questionnaire and - recruited, co-trained and supervised the team of numerators in the usage of a standardized questionnaire and evaluated the pilot test results.

Unicons partnership with LFS , a highly experienced German consultancy firm added positively to the quality of work..National consultants supervised the market research team and worked side by side with LFS consultants in qualitative interviews, processing raw data and evaluation in order to provide key conclusions for the financial projections.

The establishment of a detailed 5-year business and implementation plan for the restructuring of SSDB entailed an assessment of the overall institutional setup and governance of SSDB. The institutional capacity assessment established a comparison of the currently applied approaches with industry best practice standards for micro and SME finance operations, and also served as a basis for the action plan to be developed for a possible implementation phase. Furthermore, the formulation of the business and implementation plan will include a detailed description of the governance structure to be established, the institutional capacities to be created as well as the resources to be allocated. It will also spell out the advisory services needs in support of the implementation plan.