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MIF and MiCoope will incentivize Guatemalans to save their international remittances

Sep 9, 2016

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), recently approved a technical cooperation of $461,864 for a project with the Federation of Credit Unions of Guatemala (FENACOAC), also known by its business name MiCoope, that seeks to create a model that will increase access to transaction savings accounts —account deposits that can be used to make payments, purchases or transfers— for 35,000 Guatemalan families that receive remittances.  Transaction accounts will facilitate receipt and management of remittances while also offering planned savings and credit products designed specifically for individuals that receive international remittances.

According to the Bank of Guatemala, Guatemala received US$6.285 billion in remittances from emigrants in 2015. Remittance flows to the country increased by more than 13% compared to 2014, an indication of the growing importance of family remittances there. According to the 2011 National Living Conditions Survey (ENCOVI), 8.4% of the Guatemalan population—more than 1.2 million people—benefit from international remittances. Although almost one in 10 Guatemalans depends on remittances for all or part of their monthly income through regular payments, only 10% is received via deposit in a bank account. Many financial institutions participating in the remittance market limit their involvement to payment services, acting as payment agents for money wiring companies and distributing the payments in cash without addressing other potential financial needs of the remittance recipient clients.

The model that will be tested by the Project will give remittance recipients incentives to receive the transfers via deposits into an account rather than in cash. Offering this new payment tool will facilitate regular use of the account for transactions, discouraging clients from withdrawing the entire remittance. Beneficiaries will also be able to obtain a planned savings product, that allows the client to make regular deposits of a set amount and withdraw the funds only for a specific purpose after a predetermined period of time, from the MiCoope credit union network. Impact is expected in the departments of San Marcos, Huehuetenango, Sololá, El Quiche, Guatemala, and Totonicapán, where the model to be created through the project will be piloted and validated.

The project will then be scaled up through the MiCoope system, which comprises 25 credit unions with coverage in 21 of Guatemala’s 22 departments. The project will also indirectly benefit 105,000 members of households headed by MiCoope remittance clients.


The Federation of Credit Unions of Guatemala  (FENACOAC), also known by its business name MiCoope, is a private, nonprofit institution and the organism that integrates, represents, strengthes, and serve as the central liquidity fund for the 25 credit unions located throughout Guatemala that make up the MiCoope system. In departments like San Marcos, Huehuetenango, and Sololá, the MiCoope system has a greater than 50% market share of savings, highlighting its important leadership role in capturing savings in the country’s non-urban departments and areas. Learn more at

About the MIF

The Multilateral Investment Fund is the innovation lab for the Inter-American Development Bank Group. It conducts high-risk experiments to test new models for engaging and inspiring the private sector to solve economic development problems in Latin America and the Caribbean. The MIF addresses poverty and vulnerability by focusing on emerging businesses and smallholder farmers with the capacity to grow and create economic opportunities. Learn more at

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