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Tuba Rai Metin

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Last updated May 31, 2012

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Tuba Rai Metin
(TRM) -- which translates to “stand firmly on the ground” -- is a microfinance institution in East Timor, one of the smallest, newest and least developed countries in Southeast Asia. With 41% of the population living below the poverty line and 70% making less than USD$2.50 a day, the country is in dire need of stable banking. In fact, only about 13% of the population has regular access to financial services.

TRM launched in 2001 with support from Save the Children, but registered as a separate MFI in 2001 under Catholic Relief Services. Today, it provides financial products to poor rural and urban populations to improve their quality of life and empower women.

With a nationwide presence, TRM provides credit, savings accounts and micro-insurance to more than 7,000 clients -- all of whom are women -- through 11 branches and two field offices. Its goal is to extend its reach into even more remote regions through branchless banking services.

While it focuses primarily on supplying traditional microloans, it plans to expand into remittances, as well as non-financial offerings like agriculture and business development training, financial literacy classes and environmental services. TRM is also piloting an agricultural loan product that won’t require borrowers to repay until after the harvest.

The organization has received support and technical assistance from BASIX India and UNCDF and won the Silver Award for reporting on social parameters from the MIX Market.

TRM has faced and survived extreme challenges, including two consecutive civil wars in 2006 and 2007 that wiped out 13 other microfinance institutions.
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