Best Practices in Credit Accessibility and Corporate Social Responsibility in Financial Institutions


The purpose of this article is to present and discuss some of the best practices of financial industry, in three emerging economies: Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. The main thesis is that, notwithstanding the importance of certain specific deficiencies, such as an inadequate regulatory context or the lack of financial education among the population, the main factor that explains the low banking levels in emerging and developing economies, affecting mostly lower-income segments, is the use of inefficient financial service distribution models. In connection with this thesis, we will try to show that traditional financial institutions, both in developing countries and in the advanced economies have a special social responsibility to help create an efficient financial system that makes saving and borrowing instruments available to the greatest possible number of citizens.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. Adams D., D. Graham D., J. D. von Pischke: 1984, Undermining Rural Development with Cheap Credit. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Arch G.: 2005, Microfinance and Development: Risk and Return from a Policy Outcome Perspective, Journal of Banking Regulation, 6(3) 227–245

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Argandoña A.: 1995, The Treatment of Ethical Problems in Financial Institutions and Markets. In: A. Argandoña (eds), The Ethical Dimension of Financial Institutions and Markets. pp. 1–26. Springer, Berlin

    Google Scholar 

  4. Argandoña, A.: 2006, From Ethical Responsibility to Corporate Social Responsibility. Presented at the 6th International Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Management Education “The Good Company. Catholic Social Thought and Corporate Social Responsibility in Dialogue”, Rome, 5–7 October

  5. Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo: 2005, Desencadenar el crédito. Como ampliar y estabilizar la banca. Informe 2005. Progreso económico y social en América Latina (BID, Washington, DC)

  6. Beck, T., A. Demirguc-Kunt and M. S. Martinez-Peira: 2005, Reaching Out: Access to and Use of Banking Services Across Countries. World Bank, Development Research Group, Finance Team, Washington, DC, Policy Research Working Paper No. 3754

  7. Brau J. C., G. M. Woller: 2004, ‹Microfinance: A Comprehensive Review of the Existing Literature. Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance and Business Ventures 9(1), 1–26

    Google Scholar 

  8. CGAP – Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, The World Bank: 2006a, Good Practice Guidelines for Funders of Microfinance, 2nd Edition (CGAP, Washington, DC)

  9. CGAP – Consultative Group to Assist the Poor, The World Bank: 2006b, Using Technology to Build Inclusive Financial Systems. Focus Note No. 32, January

  10. De la Cuesta-González M., M. J. Muñoz-Torres, M. A. Fernández-Izquierdo: 2006, Analysis of Social Performance in the Spanish Financial Industry Through Public Data. A Proposal. Journal of Business Ethics, 69(3) 289–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Dunford C.: 2000, ‹In Search of ‹Sound Practices’ for Microfinance’, Journal of Microfinance 2, 6–12.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Espinosa R.: 2006, Las microfinanzas en Ecuador. Superintendencia de Bancos y Seguros del Ecuador, Quito

    Google Scholar 

  13. Fomin – Fondo Multilateral de Inversiones: 2006, Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean (Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, Washington, DC), May

  14. Francis G., J. Holloway 2007, What Have We Learned? Themes from the Literature on Best-Practice Benchmarking. International Journal of Marketing Reviews 9(3), 171–189

    Google Scholar 

  15. Garrido C. 2005, Desarrollo económico y procesos de financiamiento en México. Siglo XXI, Mexico, D.F

    Google Scholar 

  16. Ghatak M., T. W. Guinnane 1999, The Economics of Lending with Joint Liability: Theory and Practice. Journal of Development Economics 60(1), 195–228

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Gilman, S. C.: 2005, Ethics Codes and Codes of Conduct as Tools for Promoting an Ethical and Professional Public Service: Comparative Successes and Lessons. Prepared for the PREM, World Bank, Washington DC, Winter

  18. Global Development Research Center: 1995, Microfinance Institutions Analysis: Summary of Findings.

  19. Goggin N. 2006, Ideology, Mission or Just a Technique?. Finance and Common Good 25, 30–36

    Google Scholar 

  20. González-Vega, C.: 1998, Microfinance: Broader Achievements and New Challenges. Rural Finance Program, Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics, The Ohio State University, Economics and Sociology Occasional Paper No. 2518, October

  21. Hardy, D. C., P. Holden and V. Prokopenko: 2002, Microfinance Institutions and Public Policy. IMF Working Paper WP/02/159, Washington, DC

  22. Hinojosa, R.: 2003, Transnational Migration, Remittances and Development in North America: Globalization Lessons from the Oaxaca-California Transnational Village/Community Modeling Project. NAID Center UCLA. Los Angeles, CA, October

  23. Kirkpatrick C., S. M. Maimbo 2002, The Implications of the Evolving Microfinance Agenda for Regulatory and Supervisory Policy. Development Policy Review 20(3), 293–304.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Lacalle-Calderon M., S. Rico-Garrido 2006, Microcredits: An Opportunity for Labor Inclusion. Finance and Common Good 25, 94–100

    Google Scholar 

  25. Leseure M. J., J. Bauer, K. Birdi, A. Neely, D. Denyer 2004, Adoption of Promising Practices: A Systematic Review of the Evidence. International Journal of Management Reviews 5(6), 169–190

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Lopez C., E. Rhyne 2003, The Service Company Model: A New Strategy for Commercial Banks in Microfinance ACCION InShigt 6, 1–14

    Google Scholar 

  27. Margolis J., J. Walsh 2003, Misery Loves Companies: Rethinking Social Initiatives By Business. Administrative Science Quarterly 48(2), 268–305

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Marulanda, B. and M. Paredes: 2006, Acceso a servicios financieros en Colombia y políticas para promoverlos a través de instituciones formales. Diagnóstico (USAID Services Group, Bogota)

  29. Mayoux, L.: 2003, ‹Women’s Empowerment and Participation in Micro-Finance: Evidence, Issues and Ways Forward’, in L. Mayoux (ed.), Sustainable Learning for Women’s Empowerment: Ways Forward in Microfinance.

  30. Mayoux, L.: 2005, Women’s Empowerment Through Sustainable Microfinance: Rethinking ‹Best Practice’. September.

  31. Murdoch J. 1999, The Microfinance Promise Journal of Economic Literature 37(4), 1569–1614

    Google Scholar 

  32. Murdoch J. 2000, The Microfinance Schism. World Development 28(4), 617–629

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Orozco M.: 2004, Transnationalism and Development: Trends and Opportunities in Latin America. Inter-American Dialogue, Washington, D.C

    Google Scholar 

  34. Orozco M. 2006, International Flows of Remittances: Cost, Competition and Financial Access in Latin America and the Caribbean – Toward an Industry Scorecard. Inter-American Dialogue, Washington, D.C

    Google Scholar 

  35. Prior, F.: 2007a, Soluciones al problema del bajo acceso a los servicios financieros en Colombia, Ecuador y Perú: Revisión de mejores prácticas en la prestación de servicios financieros (IESE Business School, Barcelona)

  36. Prior F. 2007b, La bancarización de las remesas y la creación de sistemas financieros más inclusivos en los países andinos. IESE Business School, Barcelona.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Prior F. 2007c, Análisis de niveles de bancarización y revisión de la prestación de servicios financieros en los países del Magreb. IESE Business School, Barcelona.

    Google Scholar 

  38. Prior, F. and A. Argandoña: 2007, Credit Accessibility and Corporate Social Responsibility in Financial Institutions: The Case of Microfinance. Presented at the EBEN Research Conference 2007, “Finance and Society in Ethical Perspective”, Bergamo, 21–23 June

  39. Schreiner M. 1999, Aspects of Outreach: A Framework for the Discussion of the Social Benefits of Microfinance. Microfinance Risk Management and Center for Social Development, Washington University, St. Louis, MO

    Google Scholar 

  40. Schreiner, M.: 2003, Scoring: The Next Breakthrough in Microcredit? CGAP Occasional Paper No. 7, January

  41. Solo T. M., A. Manroth 2003, Access to Financial Services in Colombia. The ‹unbanked’ in Bogotá’, World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  42. Wolfram Cox, J. R., L. Mann, D. Samson 1997, Benchmarking as a Mixed Metaphor: Disentangling Assumptions of Competition and Collaboration. Journal of Management Studies, 34(2), 285–314

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. World Bank: 2005, World Development Indicators, 2005.

  44. World Bank: 2006, Getting Credit, 2006.

  45. Yarrow D., P. Hanson, A. Robson 2004, Made in the 21st Century: How Far have We Come on the Journey to Excellence?. Total Quality Management, 15, 829–839

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Antonio Argandoña.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Prior, F., Argandoña, A. Best Practices in Credit Accessibility and Corporate Social Responsibility in Financial Institutions. J Bus Ethics 87, 251 (2009).

Download citation


  • best practices
  • Colombia
  • corporate social responsibility
  • Ecuador
  • emerging economies
  • financial institutions
  • financial system
  • microcredit
  • microfinance
  • Peru