Credit Denied! Stamp worries some FINCA fund-raiser recipients

By Robb Hicken/ chief storyteller

If her credit had been denied, as was written on the outside of the envelope, Sandra of Caldwell would have been more concerned.

“Probably doesn’t fall into your category of unlikable solicitations, but truly dislike this envelope coming to me with my name and address and the words: Credit denied,” she says.

The enveloped contained a plea from FINCA, a non-profit organization committed to breaking the cycle of poverty for the women and the working poor.  FINCA provides small loans, savings programs, insurance protection and other financial services. The organization reports that it concluded 2009 with 717,217 microfinance clients in 21 countries across Africa, Eurasia, the Greater Middle East and Latin America and had an outstanding loan portfolio of $322.3 million. In 2009, FINCA disbursed $682.2 million in loans.

The organization’s clients include women, who make up 70 percent of the world’s poor; people unable to find work in the formal sector; families displaced by conflict; the rural poor; and those affected by chronic poverty. A majority of FINCA’s clients are impoverished traders, selling goods such as produce, shoes, clothing, charcoal, poultry and fish. Others cook and sell food, produce crafts, or run beauty salons or bicycle repair shops, while increasing numbers of FINCA’s clients work in agriculture.

BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance reports that FINCA does not meet all 16 Standards. The failures are in board compensation, audit report, and a detailed expense breakdown.  The report  indicates the organization is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. It is eligible to receive contributions deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purpose.

The solicitation is legitimate.

In 2011, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for BBB services such as Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reviews on more than 11,000 charities, all available any time at

“While I know this has nothing to do with my credit – it is a complete disregard for me and totally ticks me off,” Sandra says.



Filed under News You Can Trust

2 responses to “Credit Denied! Stamp worries some FINCA fund-raiser recipients

  1. First of all, as a representative of FINCA (, I would like to apologize to Sandra of Caldwell, who complained about our “Credit Denied” mailing, and to anyone else who was upset by the letter. We had no intention of angering anyone. Our hope was that people who read the letter would understand why we sent it. We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to get people’s attention to support our cause.

    We had used the “Credit Denied” language in an online communication that we sent out earlier this spring. The online campaign was so successful that we decided to try it in the mail. We thought long and hard about how to translate the successful e-marketing effort to direct marketing and came up with the piece that we sent you. A lot of us here looked at the copy, and we thought that the piece was good, but obviously we didn’t think through all of the ramifications. We’ve learned a lot from people who have contacted us to tell us how they feel about the letter. Please know that we’re trying our best to make the world a better place, but sometimes good people make bad decisions. So we ask for forgiveness on this letter.

    FINCA currently works in 21 impoverished countries to alleviate poverty by providing small loans and other financial services to almost 950,000 of the world’s lowest income entrepreneurs, providing them with hope and opportunity to build their tiny businesses and create jobs, improve their families’ living standards and provide a better future for their children.

    Of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance’s 20 different Standards for Charity Accountability, FINCA currently meets 17. The following explains where we fall short in meeting BBB’s standards and how we have addressed BBB’s concerns:

    The BBB considers that three of the members of FINCA’s Board of Directors received compensation, an amount which exceeded the ten percent maximum of compensated board members that BBB requires. Of these, one is our President and CEO (who is on our payroll), one is our founder (who retired from his formal position as director of research in 2007, but has received compensation in retirement), and one is our Board Chairman, who is the brother of our founder and is therefore considered as being compensated indirectly by the BBB because of this relationship. He is not on our payroll and is not compensated by FINCA. We hope that we will be able to meet this standard in the future.

    On our complete annual financial statements being available, I would direct your attention to the Financial Statements and Reports page on our website:, which provides links to our financial statements, annual reports and IRS Form 990 (tax filings) for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010. In 2007, FINCA adopted the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in lieu of GAAP, as have many corporations and nonprofits. As we pointed out in letters to BBB regarding our compliance with its standards, many leading accounting experts now expect that the Securities and Exchange Commission will soon mandate that companies move from GAAP to IFRS. We also forwarded BBB a link to an April 1, 2008 article in CFO magazine entitled “Goodbye GAAP: It’s time to start preparing for the arrival of international accounting standards.”

    Regarding the breakdown of financial expenses in FINCA’s financial statements, I pointed out to BBB that this was–in fact–included in the 2009 Form 990 which FINCA submitted to the IRS, which we made available to the BBB at the time of our submission of the reporting information it requested from us. You may see this for yourself on

    Thank you for your consideration. We would welcome your support for FINCA (


    Patrick J. McCormick
    Direct Marketing Manager

  2. It’s nearly impossible to find knowledgeable people in this particular topic, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!


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