On May 26, 2022, Fitch Ratings has affirmed KMF Microfinance Institution LLC’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B+’ with a ‘stable’ outlook. Fitch has also upgraded KMF’s Long-Term National Rating to ‘BBB(kaz)’ from ‘BBB-(kaz)’ with a ‘stable’ outlook.
Rating strengths are KMF’s leading market share in Kazakhstan’s microfinance sector, a long record of stable operations in an often volatile operating environment, healthy profitability, a granular and short-term loan portfolio, low exposure to direct market risk and access to domestic and international funding, notes Fitch Ratings.
Management has responded to the challenges with a coherent strategy of diversifying funding away from reliance on international creditors towards domestic funding and gradually diversifying its product offering and sales channels, Fitch analysts believe.
The upgrade of the Long-Term National Rating reflects KMF’s record of maintaining a diversified funding profile in challenging operating conditions and Fitch’s view that its competitive position has incrementally improved due to the scaling down of Russian financial institutions in Kazakhstan and tightening prudential regulation which will challenge smaller competitors.
The affirmation of the international rating by Fitch confirms the consistently high level of corporate governance, financial transparency and impeccable reputation of KMF among both foreign and local investors.
“After receiving the rating, our company has improved its financial performance and effectively used access to local funding. The rating in general reflects the strengthening of the company’s position and will have a further positive impact on access to financing and the company’s growth in the microfinance market,” said Olga Yugay, CFO of KMF.
The score for Exposure to Social Impacts has been upgraded, as well. The company has an ESG score of 4+ out of 5.
The focus of KMF business model on resolving social issues, its commitment to solving environmental problems and financing the under-banked rural residents and self-employed citizens have become additional significant factors in the positive assessment of KMF.
“While celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the company has been actively investing in the development of youth and women’s entrepreneurship all these years, expanding the access to financing for villagers and implementing a massive financial literacy project that has already covered over 160,000 residents of Kazakhstan. The affirmation of the rating from Fitch, one of the largest rating agencies, is one of the milestones for us, which consolidates the company’s socially oriented development strategy,” Shalkar Zhussupov, CEO of KMF, commented on the rating.