Banco FIE

Banco FIE S.A. was developed and consolidated as a commercial microfinance bank on May 2010, from the now 27 years of dedicated work of the NGO, FIE (Centro de Fomento a Iniciativas Económicas) the pioneer micro-credit institution in Bolivia, South America. Banco FIE S.A. is present in cities as well as in rural towns throughout the entire country, in 196 offices. Its services today include micro-loans, small and medium size loans, savings accounts, savings accounts of minors, time deposits, money transfers and international remittances, cash advances, debit cards, family life insurance, payment of taxes, as well as payment of pensions for senior citizens and of various utilities’ bills.

In number of clients, Banco FIE S.A. is today the largest bank in Bolivia!  Loans are primarily for microenterprises dedicated to commercial and manufacturing activities, with a fast growing portfolio in rural agricultural activities for increased food production by rural farmers.


To be the financial institution preferred by micro and small entrepreneurs of the country, due to its acknowledged solvency and quality of its services, attracting investors committed to the equitable and inclusive development of Bolivia.


To be identified world-wide as the microfinance institution of the future, where the international financial system promotes a global development based not only on economic growth but also on fairness in the distribution of resources and the preservation of the environment.


  • Ximena Behoteguy – President of the Board
  • Ricardo Villavicencio – Vice-President
  • Elizabeth Nava – General Manager
  • Andrés Urquidi – Commercial Manager
  • Fernando Lopez – Financial Manager
  • Guillermo Collao – Risk Manager
  • Nelson Camacho – Internal Audit Manager
  • Horacio Terrazas – Manager of Legal Affairs


  • CONFIE Holding SL
  • CCP INCOFIN cvso
  • Impulse Microfinance Investment Fund NV
  • ICCO (Organización Intereclesiástica para Cooperación al Desarrollo)
  • Fundación PROFIN
  • Fundación Walter Berta
  • Raul Adler Kavlin
  • Federico Ruck-Uriburu
  • Peter Brunhart Gassner
  • Pilar Ramírez (founding member of FIE NGO)
  • María Eugenia Butrón (founding member of FIE NGO)
  • Peter Brunhart Frick
  • Walter Brunhart Frick
  • María Gerta Bicker
  • Roland Brunhart Pfiffner


                    (in US$ equivalency)

LOAN portfolio: US$765,194 million

Number of Loan Clients: 211,391
Male clients: 48.48% 
Female clients: 51.51%

% of Loans to Male Clients: 47.39%
% of Loans to Female Clients:  52.21%
% of Loans to Enterprises: 0.40%

Average loan: US$3,619

% of Loans below US$ 2,000: 47.80.
% of Loans for Commercial and Service activities: 78.26
% of Loans for Productive activities: 21.74

68% of the loans for Productive activities were for less than US$3,000 on average.

Portfolio of loans given in rural areas: US$150,343,135. Of these loans, 1/3 were loans for agricultural production, a new area of work for Banco FIE.

Micro-loans (up to US$5,000) were received by 75.93% of the bank’s clients.

Loans above US$5,000 were received by 20.65% of the bank’s clients

SAVINGS portfolio:   US$620,845 million

Savings accounts:  US$236,017 million
Time deposits:        US$384,828 million

% of Savings of Male Clients: 21,26%
% of Savings of Female Clients: 22.36%
% of Savings from Enterprises: 56.39%


No. Of Employees: 2,995    
Women: 51.35%
Men: 48.65%

Staff: 205
Women: 39.51%
Men: 60.49%


Banco FIE is a solid and profitable commercial bank, fully complying with the Regulatory Authority of Bolivia (ASFI) in all its operations.  As a microfinance bank it maintains the mission and vision of a more equitable world, providing access to financial services for the vast number of individuals, women and men, excluded from these services because of their situation of poverty, gender, and ethnic or race status, a situation still prevalent in South America.  As a for-profit institution it has ended year 2012 with profits (after taxes) of the equivalent of US$ 12.7 million, showing a ROE of 18.88% and a ROA of 1.52%.

In the 27 years of existence of NGO FIE, its member associates have not changed, fully dedicating their professional activities to the development and growth of this originally non-profit endeavour in providing access to loans to individuals considered too poor or too uneducated to be credit worthy. NGO FIE is not the only non-profit to achieve interesting and now profitable results. Together with other civil society organizations, it has been able to contribute to a very active, successful and vibrant microfinance sector in Bolivia, recognized world-wide. As a result, the sector as a whole has been able to attract supporters and investors from other countries, investment funds and individuals also committed to the broader aim of financial inclusion for the majority of our population.

Full information on Banco FIE S.A. can be found in the bank’s web page:  

Pilar Ramirez, The poor are creditworthy: the experience of FIE S.A. (Bolivia) in BANKING AND SOCIAL COHESION; Alternative Responses to a Global Market, Christophe Guene and Edward Mayo
editors, INAISE – International Association of Investors in the Social Economy (Belgium) and NEF – New Economics Foundation (London), 2001,

As the first NGO dedicated to microcredit in Bolivia, having developed its own microcredit technology (individual lending), FIE (Centro de Fomento a
Iniciativas Económicas)   successfully showed the government authorities of Bolivia as well as international cooperation agencies, the enormous potential of lending small amounts of money to very low-income persons, men and women, dedicated to income generating economic activities, through their own means. At the time of FIE’s founding (1985) these individuals were categorized as what was then called “the informal sector”: not registered formally, organized precariously, self-funded, having little or no previous technical or trade training, etc. and completely excluded from access to formal sources of funding such as banks, savings and loan organizations, cooperatives, etc.

Learning from other similar experiences in Latin America and Asia, FIE developed its own credit methodology as well as an extensive training program in basic accounting and management skills as well as courses in manufacturing of clothing, jewellery, wood-works, etc. according to the skills needed by the micro-credit clientele for the growth and improvement of their microenterprises.

FIE’s activities coincided with the introduction of “structural adjustment” economic measures in the country which included dramatic public policies which affected employment conditions for large numbers of the previously salaried workers. These measures also contemplated changes in the financial sector. A major change was the approval of a bank licence for the first Microfinance Bank in the world, today known as Banco Sol. This event opened up the possibility for previous non-profit microcredit organizations to “transform” their financial operations into formal financial entities initially known as Private Financial Funds (FFPs), microfinance companies where the “mother” NGO became the major shareholder inviting other shareholders (many from the international development cooperation agencies) as well as private individuals. FIE FFP received its operating licence in 1998, with FIE NGO as its major shareholder (59%) along with SDC of Switzerland and private investors. In a very short time FFP FIE was able to introduce also savings services as well as payments of utilities’ bills, taxes, and money transfers.

In year 2001 FIE NGO transferred its micro-loan technology to Buenos Aires, Argentina, opening there FIE Gran Poder S.A, a microcredit limited liability company specifically tailored to offering this financial service to the vast population of Bolivian migrants in that country.

As NGO, FIE never expected that growth in loan operations would be so large and in such a short time. Because of the change in status: from non-profit organization becoming shareholder of a microfinance company,  FIE could no longer expect to continue receiving no-cost funding from “donors” and/or development cooperation institutions. One almost immediate result of the need to accompany FIE FFP’s accelerated growth was, very regrettably, the closing of the training and capacity building facility of the NGO. Further fast growth since year 2000 required inviting new shareholders who bought shares from the NGO to a point where it became clear that FIE NGO would not be able to sustain the majority status much longer.

In year 2008, with FFP FIE in Bolivia showing sustained growth and FIE Gran Poder in Argentina demonstrating FIE’s capacity to transfer its microcredit know-how to a new country context, FIE NGO took a major, courageous step: the forming of CONFIE Holding  (Corporación de Fomento a Iniciativas Económicas) as a way to insure the value of the two affiliates and in this manner attract new investors interested in pursuing further transfers of this know-how. CONFIE Holding was registered in Madrid, Spain, a domain which allows the establishment of ETVEs (enterprises that own shares, or similar, in countries other than Spain). Once established, CONFIE Holding SL successfully attracted shareholders such as the then BlueOrchard Private Equity Fund (now BambooFinancial Inclusion Fund), Pettelaar Effectenbewaarbedrijf N.V. managed by Developing World Markets, and Mr. Vincent Burgi, a citizen of Switzerland committed to supporting microfinance organizations. All are investors for a specific time span, expecting to sell their invested shares at a profit, in benefit of their own investors. All of them value FIE’s dedicated knowledge and continued commitment to access to financial services for the hundreds of thousands of clients, women and men formerly excluded from these services. In recognition of its know-how in microfinance, as well as its majority shareholder status, these investors agreed that FIE NGO would lead CONFIE Holding SL.

CONFIE Holding SL shows the present shareholder make-up:

  • Centro de Fomento a Iniciativas Económicas (FIE NGO): 51.90%
  • BambooFinancial Inclusion Fund: 40.70%
  • Pettelaar Effectenbewaarbedrijf N.V:  5.55%
  • Vincent Burgi: 1.85%

NGO FIE’s leadership in CONFIE Holding SL has been observed with no change resulting in  the impressive
growth and excellent performance of FFP FIE. A full banking license for Banco FIE S.A. was obtained in May of 2010.
FIE Gran Poder S.A. in Argentina also continues growing and despite the difficult economic and political environment there, it remains the biggest MFI in that country.  In year 2008 CONFIE SL made an investment in Peru, acquiring 25% of the shares of Edpyme Nueva Vision, a microcredit institution in Arequipa, Peru growing slowly in the southern region of that country, and soon to receive a  licence of Financiera, to begin offering savings services along with the micro-loans.

FIE NGO has fulfilled its original mission of providing access to loans and other financial services to a population that was excluded from these services because of their situation of poverty and or ethnicity and gender. Social conditions in Bolivia have dramatically changed in the last 7 years with the first indigenous President, Mr. Evo Morales, and his political power. Improvements in the economy of the once excluded masses, along with an evident long overdue empowerment of the common citizen (auspiciously supported by access to financial services from various microfinance institutions), contribute daily to changes in much needed economic and social policies.  A new “Law of Financial Services”, soon to be approved and implemented opens up new possibilities for Banco FIE’s move towards a stronger “long-term development oriented bank”. Progressing from a source of loans for micro and small income-generating activities of “poor” families into their long-term provider of full financial services that foster growth and development, is the future we see for Banco FIE.


Country : Bolivia

Type of member : Adhésion complète

Type of organization : Bank

Website :