Responsible Lending Principles

As socially responsible lenders seeking to build a thriving and sustainable financial sector while upholding our fiduciary duty to our investors, we, the members of the Council on Smallholder Agricultural Finance, hereby commit to the following principles in our lending.
  1. Promotion of Inclusive Finance. We will actively promote and contribute to the further development of the market for smallholder agricultural finance. We embrace the concept of additionality in our lending, meaning that we will seek to expand the addressable market to serve an ever-greater number of underserved agricultural businesses and a wider range of their financing needs.
  2. Responsible Credit Decisions. We will act in the best long-term interests of a sustainable financial sector that serves our agricultural business clients, their affiliated smallholder farmers and our investors. As a group, we will work together to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) into policies and reporting.
  3. Transparency. We will maintain a high degree of transparency regarding loan terms, conditions and processes by communicating clear, sufficient and timely information in a manner and language our clients can understand.
  4. Harmonization of Standards. We will collaborate to set more harmonized lending and performance standards to reduce the burden for borrowers and contribute to further comparability in the industry.
  5. Prevention of Overindebtedness. We will take adequate care in all phases of the credit process to determine that clients have the capacity to repay our loans without becoming overindebted.
  6. Trusted Information Sharing. To promote the development of a healthy agricultural lending sector, we will share information pertaining to due diligence and risk management while respecting the confidentiality of our borrowers’ business and financial information.
  7. Fair Treatment. We commit to ethical behavior in all credit decisions, including loan approvals, servicing and collections, and due processes for resolving disputes.