René Banegas, CEO of PILARH ODPF, talks about the cooperation with BRS

The cooperation with the Honduran microfinancing institution PILARH ODPF has strong roots. With the help of BRS, it launched new savings products and a business fund for young Hondurans.

CEO René Banegas is keen to explain what this cooperation means to him.

“In 2018, BRS Microfinance Coop granted us a loan of a million dollars, with a term of three years. Extra capital that allows us to give an additional 1,000 customers a credit of 1,000 dollars.”


1000 x 1000

“Pilarh now has 13,000 borrowers. We finance half the credits with savings and our own resources. And we take out loans for the other half. In 2018, BRS Microfinance Coop granted us a loan of one million dollars, with a term of three years. Extra capital that allows us to give an additional 1,000 customers a credit of 1,000 dollars. This will enable more people to improve their working and living conditions with the support of Pilarh.”

The struggle to survive

“Because life in Honduras is not easy. There is a great deal of crime and the violence of youth gangs has a serious impact on the local economy. The farmers with whom Pilarh works face additional challenges.

For example, coffee growers have seen their income shrink in recent months due to falling coffee prices. This obviously has an impact on their credit repayments. Even coffee growers who have been making repayments promptly for years are getting into trouble. Sometimes they just leave their crops in the field because they lose less than if they harvest them.

Small-scale farmers who grow potatoes and strawberries are also struggling. Mainly due to the effects of climate change: excessive rain resulted in a reduced harvest of a poorer quality. They too are trying to survive.”


“Pilarh does not leave these farmers to their fate. We look for solutions together. We adjust credit maturities, reallocate debt and align our products and operations as much as possible to their production process.

The additional resources from BRS Microfinance Coop provide us with more leeway in this regard. Because, of course, we must also ensure the financial health of our credit portfolio. Ever more financial institutions are withdrawing from the agricultural sector. We think that’s a real shame. Although it does also have an advantage - it gives us the opportunity to expand Pilarh’s market share. We make a real difference with our loyalty to our customers.”

Every new challenge is an opportunity

“As before, cooperation with BRS is not just about money. We also look at how to optimise sales and improve our products. This certainly applies to the insurance policies we have been offering for a few years now. Through BRS, we hope to increase our professionalism in this area so that we can offer our customers the best possible insurance.

And so Pilarh faces new challenges time and again. That’s good, because they make us grow and they make us stronger. And as a result, after 20 years, I still learn something every day. That’s how I like it, to be honest. That’s also why I love Pilarh.”


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What do BRS, Honduras and Paul van Himst have in common?

Something to do with coffee, that’s for sure. René Banegas, CEO of Pilarh, visits Brésor, the coffee-roasting house of Paul van Himst. Pilarh has many coffee farmers as customers.