Micro-Credit Association Ghana (MCAG) serves as the umbrella organization for microfinance institutions in Ghana. Established on May 2, 2010, under the Companies Code, MCAG plays a crucial role in bringing micro-credit operators together and promoting collaboration within the microfinance sector.
In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of MCAG, its membership requirements, benefits, and the licensing procedures for different tiers of microfinance institutions in Ghana.
About Micro-Credit Association Ghana (MCAG)
MCAG aims to achieve the following objectives:
- Unify the Micro-Credit Sector: MCAG brings microfinance institutions under one umbrella organization, fostering unity and cohesion within the sector.
- Networking and Professional Relationships: MCAG facilitates networking opportunities among its members and stakeholders, enabling the exchange of knowledge and experiences.
- Advocacy and Policy Influence: MCAG partners with other apex bodies and networks to build a unified front for advocacy, influencing microfinance policies set by the government, development partners, and regulatory bodies.
- Establish Operating Standards: MCAG provides acceptable operating standards for its members and internally monitors and regulates their operations, ensuring adherence to best practices.
MCAG has gained recognition as a member of the Microfinance Network of West and Central Africa (Mifinanco) and the Global Microfinance Network (GMN). Additionally, MCAG acts as an agent for the Bank of Ghana, further cementing its importance in the microfinance landscape.
Membership Requirements for MCAG
To become a member of MCAG, microfinance institutions must meet specific criteria, including:
- Registration: Institutions must be registered with the Registrar-General’s Department as microfinance institutions in Ghana.
- Minimum Capital: A minimum paid-up capital of GH¢2,000,000 is required for membership eligibility.
- Strong Management Team: Institutions must possess a competent management team with experience in microfinance operations.
- Regulatory Compliance: Compliance with the regulations set by the Bank of Ghana is essential for MCAG membership.
Meeting these requirements allows microfinance institutions to access the numerous benefits provided by MCAG.
Benefits of MCAG Membership
By joining MCAG, microfinance institutions in Ghana gain access to a range of benefits, including:
- Training and Technical Assistance: MCAG offers training programs and technical assistance to its members, enhancing their capacity and improving the quality of their services.
- Networking Opportunities: Membership provides opportunities for networking and collaboration with other microfinance institutions, fostering the exchange of ideas and fostering partnerships.
- Representation on Government and Regulatory Bodies: MCAG represents the interests of its members on government and regulatory bodies, ensuring their voices are heard in important decision-making processes.
- Access to Funding: MCAG facilitates access to funding from donors and development partners, enabling members to expand their operations and serve more clients.
Considering these benefits, joining MCAG can be a significant step for microfinance institutions in Ghana looking to grow their business and contribute positively to the lives of their clients.
Licensing Requirements for Microfinance Institutions
Different tiers of microfinance institutions in Ghana have specific licensing requirements. Let’s take a closer look at the requirements for Tier 3 and Tier 4 institutions.
Tier 3 Licensing Requirements
Tier 3 microfinance institutions must fulfill the following criteria:
- Restrictions of Eligibility to Corporate Entities: Only body corporate entities incorporated in Ghana are eligible to apply for a license to operate as Tier 3 microfinance institutions.
- Shareholding Restrictions: Shareholding in microfinance institutions, such as Susu companies, deposit-taking financial NGOs, and money lending companies, should be restricted to Ghanaians. Non-deposit taking microfinance institutions can have exclusively Ghanaian, exclusively foreign, or jointly Ghanaian and foreign shareholding.
- Application Procedures: The application for a license should be made in writing to the Director of the Banking Supervision Department at the Bank of Ghana, accompanied by necessary documents such as the Certificate of Incorporation, regulations of the company, information about significant shareholders, feasibility report, business plan, financial projections, capital information, and other required particulars.
- Minimum Paid-Up Capital: Tier 3 microfinance institutions must have a minimum paid-up capital of GH¢2,000,000.
- Approval-in-Principle: The Bank of Ghana may issue an ‘approval-in-principle’ to applicants who demonstrate integrity, prudence, and professional competence, as well as the capacity to raise the required initial paid-up capital.
- Pre-Operating Conditions: The final approval and license are granted after satisfying pre-licensing conditions, which include meeting minimum paid-up capital requirements, having suitable premises, security measures, insurance coverage, operational plans and policies, accounting procedures, trained staff, financial statements, and other conditions imposed by the Bank of Ghana.
- Fees: Tier 3 microfinance institutions are required to pay processing fees, license fees, and annual license renewal fees.
Read also: How to Start a Susu Company in Ghana
Tier 4 Membership Requirements
The requirements for membership in Tier 4 microfinance institutions include:
- Membership & Attestation Letter Requirements: Applicants must provide a letter stating the purpose of the application, two different valid IDs, two passport-size photos of the sole proprietor, curriculum vitae of the sole proprietor, filled membership registration forms, preliminary information forms, personality notes form, evidence of source of capital, and attestation letters from a recently completed school, community leader (clergy, imam), or an existing member of MCAG in good standing.
- Interview: Applicants will undergo an interview conducted by the Executive Secretary of MCAG.
- Payment of Member Registration Fee: A member registration fee, currently GH₵2,500, is required for Tier 4 microfinance institutions.
- Licensing Requirement: The licensing requirements for Tier 4 microfinance institutions include submitting a copy of the certificate of registration, Form “A” copy, application letter for Tier 4 license, payment of processing fees, profile of business and insurance, budget, accounting manual, operational manual, licensing fee, and annual subscription/dues.
It is crucial for microfinance institutions to adhere to these licensing requirements to operate within the legal framework and maintain credibility.
Micro-Credit Association Ghana (MCAG) serves as a vital organization for microfinance institutions in Ghana, promoting unity, networking, and advocacy within the sector. By becoming a member of MCAG, microfinance institutions gain access to valuable resources, training, and representation. Licensing requirements for different tiers of microfinance institutions ensure compliance and maintain standards within the industry. As microfinance continues to play a crucial role in Ghana’s economic growth, MCAG remains a key player in supporting and empowering microfinance institutions across the country.
For more information about Micro-Credit Association Ghana (MCAG), please visit their official website at https://mcaghana.com/. You can also reach them at +233 302 948 885.