What made you decide to work in the financial industry?
‘To be honest I didn’t choose to work in microfinance. While it would be a cliché to say that it chose me, it was actually how it happened. I was just out of high school and had my secretarial training diploma when a lady from our mother company CHF (now Global Communities) was adamant to bring me on board as a loan officer. After a few months I realized the potential in this field, and I was enthused to see how I had become a part of my clients’ lives – or at least part of the “solution” to their problems. My natural tendency to enjoy working with people and networking found a rich soil on which to grow and expand. What I have learned through working in Vitas Jordan surpasses anything I would have learned in school. I learned about so many people and industries, human relation and technical aspects of business, and most of all I learned that the best service is in being humble and ready to serve your client.’
What motivates you now?
‘Many things motivate me, like the sense of fulfillment I get from my job, the great team I work with, my management’s support, but most of all, the chance to really benefit the local community and touch so many lives, especially in empowering other women. I feel we have a chance to still serve and improve more. This feeling of pride is my motivation.’
Do you remember your first client?
‘As if it were yesterday. She was this local woman who sold vegetables from a small display at the side of the road. Her first loan was just the beginning and she graduated from one loan to the next until now she and her family own a large business with five shops. She was also awarded the prize for women entrepreneurs in Aqaba for her successes.’
Can you briefly outline the financial landscape in your country?
‘While the overall situation in the region is volatile and unstable, Jordan has tried to keep its distance from the regional unrest by focusing on reform. Yet, the repercussions of the surrounding environment are evident in Jordan and on the financial landscape. Institutions are becoming more conservative as signs of over-indebtedness increase, and the appetite for investments in the region and in the country are more limited, adding to the financial burden of the public and private sectors.’
Which emerging trends do you see in the industry?
‘There are positive as well as negative trends. The negative is unfortunately the increased over- indebtedness and resulting risks. But the positive trends include the growth of the non-financial aspects including client education and client protection. Vitas Jordan was the first in the region to start adopting and training on the Smart Campaign’s Client Protection Principles (CPP). It has also strived to live its “Connecting” value, by offering its clients new avenues to grow.’
How do you see the role of money?
‘Money is a basic need, and it gets the wheels in motion. But it remains a means to an end. What is more important is the goal you need to achieve, and often times we find that money is only one part of the answer. That is why we at Vitas Jordan prefer to share our values with our clients through our customer charter to encourage them to think of the actual role of money. Our view is that money is a means to support the bigger goal of developing and bettering the community.’
What do you see as your biggest professional challenge?
‘We work in microfinance, which means we are out there to serve the “unbankable” or those from the less formal sectors. These are people who need access to finances to better their lives. Yet, since lending to these people relies on informal resources for assessment and repayment, which increases risks, my biggest challenge is to continue to serve these people, while at the same time maintaining the quality of the portfolio and continuing to serve the community and increase outreach.’
In one sentence, why would you recommend working in the financial industry?
‘For me personally I feel I found myself in my work and it gives me pride to see how many lives I’ve touched.’