In the suburbs of Lima, Peru, people can be found from all around the country. Although communicating with them might be difficult for others, Zenovio Parejas (Financiera Confianza, BBVA Microfinance Foundation’s bank in Peru) knows how to relate to them.
Zenovio Parejas starts bicycling across the Lima neighborhood of Huaycan almost before the sun rises. He can find one of his customers almost anywhere in the region. They do not have lavish offices or shops with large, illuminated windows. However, they have all decided to fight for a better life for themselves and their families.
"I feel fulfilled when I see how my customers are improving their standard of living
"Financiera Confianza’s mission is to grant loans to people who have never had access to the financial system, so they can improve their standard of living," Parejas says. In fact, for more than 40% of the institution’s customers, this is their first experience with banking. In addition, 70% find themselves in vulnerable situations.
That is why Parejas says that each microcredit granted by Financiera Confianza opens a door for many people. "Seeing the effort my clients make is very rewarding," he says. It’s what drives him to do his best every day. "I feel fulfilled when I see how my clients are improving their standard of living."
The numbers back him up. After three years, more than half of the institution’s customers have climbed out of poverty. Parejas also constantly strives to improve, both personally and professionally. "While working in Financiera Confianza, I got my high school diploma, then graduated from college and became an accredited economist," he says with deserved pride.
"The Confianza family makes this possible because we are all very supportive
His customers come from all over Peru. "Some speak Quechua," they might say. He speaks it fluently, and it helps him relate to them and, on many occasions, lay the foundation for a new transaction. "The first thing I ask,” he says, “is what part of Peru are you from?" If the person is from a Quechua-speaking region, he switches to that language. But even more than words, what Zenovio offers people is a unique opportunity to have a better life.