Frequently asked questions

Our FAQs offer answers to some most common questions on the coronavirus.


This information was last reviewed on 6 May 2020.

  • How are Oikocredit’s operations affected by the coronavirus? How is Oikocredit managing the risks arising from the coronavirus pandemic?

    Oikocredit is continuing its business activities, with a special focus on key processes. Wherever applicable our staff continue to work from home, in compliance with government measures. We’re holding our meetings via videoconference and collaborating in digital workspaces.

    We’re continuously monitoring and responding to developments related to the coronavirus. We have contingency plans in place to deal with major operational events.

    We have dedicated groups comprising Oikocredit Managing Board members and internal specialists monitoring:

    - the status of our investments in and loans to our partners in Africa, Asia and Latin America;
    - questions and concerns from our members and investors, including investment and redemption flows;
    - our term investment portfolio and other liquid funds; and
    - general developments related to the pandemic, including its impact on the welfare and effectiveness of our staff working across the world.

    Investments with partners

    Oikocredit staff across the world are working closely with our 600+ partner organisations to assess the situation each individual partner is facing and to offer them support wherever we can, for example with business continuity and liquidity planning. Discussions with our partners are taking place remotely, for example by telephone.

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we continue to be in close contact with our partners to determine their evolving needs and ascertain how Oikocredit can best help address them, particularly in situations where partners face financial difficulty.

    Oikocredit is also talking to other impact investors to exchange and coordinate with each other on how the impact investing community can respond jointly to this challenge. We have so far committed to two joint initiatives:

    Through these measures, we aim to continue delivering on our mission to support our partners and the low-income people they serve, at a time when their need for support is even greater.

    At the same time, we’re assessing the potential impact on the value of our development financing portfolio in order to protect our members’ and investors’ money.

    Due to the nature of our portfolio (loans and equity investments) and the number of partners we work with (over 600 partners across more than 60 countries), the financial impact assessment will take time. The rapidly changing nature of the coronavirus crisis means this assessment will have to be updated regularly as the situation develops.

    However, even though the full effects of the pandemic on Oikocredit’s business are not yet clear, we no longer expect to reach our growth targets for 2020.

    Capacity building for partners

    As part of our proactive response to the coronavirus crisis, Oikocredit is offering capacity building support to its partners. Initiatives so far include a webinar series on crisis management during the pandemic; virtual peer exchanges to allow partners to share crisis best practices with one another; and the creation of a coronavirus solidarity fund to help microfinance partners provide extra support to their clients.

    Our members and investors

    Our lines remain open to investors, including via our support associations and our national support offices. Oikocredit and its support associations are in regular contact to stay aware of developments in all the countries where we have investors and to discuss the various concerns that investors can have in view of their local context.

    Part of Oikocredit’s proactive response to the coronavirus crisis has been to revise the dividend proposal to be made at June’s annual general meeting (AGM) from 1% down to 0%. Reasons for this decision include that it would help Oikocredit ensure the continuity of the cooperative and the protection of its members’ capital as the uncertainty caused by the pandemic continues as well as allow Oikocredit to be flexible in responding to the needs of the partners it finances. You can read more about this decision in the full announcement on this topic.

    Oikocredit’s term investments and other liquid assets

    Oikocredit’s treasury specialists monitor the assets we keep aside for liquidity management purposes. At the end of 2019, we had a generous liquidity buffer of 19% of total assets. Half of our liquid assets consist of the so-called term investment portfolio. This is a portfolio of high-rated liquid bonds, which are traded on public markets. Due to being of higher quality, these types of bonds are less vulnerable to fluctuations in the financial markets.

    Oikocredit colleagues

    The health and safety of our employees remains a top priority for us. As a global organisation, we continue to adhere to the public health guidelines issued by the authorities in the countries where we work.

    Wherever applicable, our staff are following advice to work from home and restrict travel. As most of our employees were already able to work from home, we have good infrastructure in place to allow our staff to continue their work remotely using digital tools.

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  • How are Oikocredit’s partners and their clients affected by the coronavirus?

    Our staff that work closely with our partners continue to monitor the local situations in the countries and regions where we work.

    We’re in contact with all of our 600+ partners and are having remote meetings (e.g. by telephone) with all of them to understand how they are and potentially will be affected by the coronavirus. Based on this, we are assessing what support they need, what support Oikocredit can offer, and decide on an appropriate and sustainable course of action with the partner.

    For example, for partners that don’t have business continuity plans in place, we’re able to offer  an introduction to the topic and templates that can be used to assess risks and create plans to mitigate them.  

    As the coronavirus pandemic continues, we continue to be in close contact with our partners to determine their evolving needs and ascertain how Oikocredit can best help address them, particularly in situations where partners face financial difficulty.

    As we monitor the evolving situation, it’s too early to say what the full financial consequences of the coronavirus will be across the markets in which we work and how this will affect our partners and their financial sustainability. This is not unique to Oikocredit, but a challenge faced by the world in general.

    It is, however, likely that the low-income communities our partners work with will be greatly affected by the pandemic and associated consequences. Accordingly, we believe that our partners and the low-income people they serve will need extra support. We also believe that the support Oikocredit is able to offer has the potential to be even more valuable to them.

    While we no longer expect to reach our growth and financial return targets for 2020, Oikocredit wants to be there to offer our partners the sustainable support they need to continue their work and to keep supporting people on low incomes. To do this, Oikocredit relies on the support of its members and investors. We therefore remain thankful for the dedicated support and steadfastness of our members and investors, especially during these uncertain times.

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  • Oikocredit has revised its dividend proposal for 2019 from 1% to 0%. Why?

    Oikocredit announced a dividend proposal of 1% on 19 March, when we published our financial results showing improved performance for 2019. The development of the coronavirus crisis has since dramatically changed the global context in which Oikocredit operates, invalidating many of the assumptions used to make the 1% proposal.

    The full effects of the pandemic on Oikocredit’s business and financial position are not yet clear, but we no longer expect to reach our growth and financial return targets for 2020.

    Given the ongoing nature of the coronavirus crisis and the uncertainty it continues to create, Oikocredit’s Managing Board believes paying no dividend to members for 2019 would be in the cooperative’s best interests, as it would:

    • Allow Oikocredit to add € 11 million that would otherwise have been distributed as dividends to its general reserves, which would help the cooperative weather adverse economic developments should these occur
    • Help Oikocredit ensure the continuity of the cooperative and the protection of its members’ capital as uncertainty caused by the pandemic continues
    • Allow Oikocredit to be flexible in responding to the needs of the partners it finances, which in turn support low-income people hardest hit by the crisis

    Read the full announcement on the dividend proposal revision

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  • How do you expect the coronavirus will affect Oikocredit in the long-term?

    At this point it’s too early to say what the full impact of the coronavirus on our business activities will look like. However, we no longer expect to reach our growth and financial return targets for 2020, and we believe we won’t be able to reach our growth targets as set out in our 2018-2022 strategy.

    We already saw somewhat slower growth in 2019 (for details see our Annual Report 2019) and as we now focus on supporting our existing partners, we expect that growth targets set for 2020 won’t be reached.

    This is because as our staff focus on supporting our 600+ existing partners, they have less time and opportunity to dedicate to making loans to or investments in new partners. Each new partner must also be assessed through an extensive due diligence review, which always involves an on-site visit. However, on-site visits are generally not currently possible due to travel restrictions and social distancing measures.

    Our medium-term financial results are likely to be affected because of the lower portfolio growth and the increase in risks. However, it’s not yet possible to assess the full impact, and any assessment will have to be revisited according to the extent and duration of the coronavirus crisis in the countries and regions where we work.

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