Finca International Reviews | Glassdoor

Finca International Reviews

Updated April 10, 2017
49 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

2.8
Star Star Star Star Star
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Rupert Scofield
27 Ratings

49 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Opportunity to meet the hardest working people in the world (in 7 reviews)

  • The mission focus of this non-profit is on the betterment of poor women around the world (in 4 reviews)

Cons
  • No opportunities for professional growth (in 3 reviews)

  • It is a non profit so the budget is usually tight (in 3 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Global Banking Advisor to CEO"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Global Banking Advisor in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Global Banking Advisor in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    FINCA is a great financial company focusing on providing financial skills to most vulnerable. The organization is transforming rapidly and making tremendous progress under the leadership of a new CEO. Working for FINCA is never boring and you can use your skills to make a difference.

    Cons

    The organization is undergoing a substantial transformation which is affecting many positions. Some positions are being transferred overseas and some eliminated.

    Advice to Management

    Keep doing a great job on transformation.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Corporate Office in DC a pleasure"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Director Level in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Director Level in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Finca International full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The corporate HQ is located in an excellent area of Washington, D.C., with all the sights, sounds, and eateries at your fingertips. The office space is modern and accommodating. The employees are what make this place 4 stars, so pleasurable to be around. Minimal office politics. The mission focus of this non-profit is on the betterment of poor women around the world.

    Cons

    Parking is non-existent or very expensive to rent a space, so you must rely on Metro daily which can be a real challenge. Being a non-profit, there is never enough money to do what is needed, so employees get pushed to overload. Executive management is decentralized a bit too much, so too many chiefs with strong opinions.

    Advice to Management

    Maintain your outstanding CEO vision to keep the organization relevant and successful, but centralize your authority more to prevent the myriad of VPs from derailing.


  3. Helpful (1)

    "Huge salary for CEO"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    A great mission and potential.

    Cons

    Terrible CEO. Direction is chaos. Needs to be radically reformed. Takes advantage of people's goodwill/mission-orientation. CEO and team are taking out HUGE salaries (information can be publicly found in financial filing 990).

    Advice to Management

    Change team.


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  5. Helpful (4)

    "Toxic environment"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Group of very dedicated and interesting people work at FINCA. You will hear a multitude of languages at the office.

    Cons

    People are overworked and undervalued. There is a culture of blaming the junior people for the mistakes of the higher ups. No room for growth. Favoritism runs rampant. Everyone is trying to leave. Men seem to be treated more fairly at lower levels than women.


  6. Helpful (4)

    "Not worth it"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Finca International (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - Meaningful mission
    - Likable staff (leadership excluded)

    Cons

    - Culture is negative. A lot of unhappy staff just trying to survive the toxic environment. Staff fulfillment is not a concern.
    - There is a leadership vacuum. People in leadership positions don't know how to effectively lead to get the best from their people.
    - Going through a restructuring, which means unstable employment environment. No job is safe - even if you get hired today, your position could still be gone in a few months.

    Advice to Management

    Learn how to lead.


  7. Helpful (5)

    "Don't work here"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Bagels and jeans on Friday's

    Cons

    -Culture of fear
    -Most people and groups work in silos
    -Finger pointing is rampant
    -Several incompetencies and position mismatches
    -A string of failed IT projects and extremely manual processes (no ease to major headaches)
    -Unrealistic expectations
    -No pay increases for two years
    -Medical coverage costs have increased
    -Reduction of PTO carry-over
    -No cash payouts of PTO when you leave
    -403B plan is terrible, match only up to 1% but must vest over 5 years (archaic plan)
    -Unable to keep high performing employees
    -Very hard to move up

    Advice to Management

    Company is falling apart at the seams, earn your bloated salaries by doing a better job.


  8. Helpful (6)

    "Get out while you can"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Finca International full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great, hard working people.
    Important mission.
    Good location close to metro and places to eat.
    Opportunity to telecommute.
    Place to park bikes that's secure and showers in the building.

    Cons

    "Execs" with no relevant experience to run a company like FINCA, many never headed their areas until FINCA. These incompetent managers who can’t get along have driven the company to the brink of bankruptcy.

    Given their lack of experience, management just tries things, with no impunity when things go wrong, as is often the case.

    The ongoing waves of layoffs, frozen salaries and little to no room for advancement have created a negative culture that no amount of employee recognition programs can alleviate, especially when the employees see a different behavior on the part of the senior managers.

    More and more people going to be fired and yet their so called managers continue to act with little integrity, spending money on frivolous things and wasting time on projects that won’t help turn things around.

    Advice to Management

    If you care about FINCA’s mission turn over the company to people who have done this before and watch from the sidelines the company flourish again.


  9. "IT Department"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Enterprise Architect in Atlanta, GA
    Former Employee - Enterprise Architect in Atlanta, GA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Finca International (More than a year)

    Pros

    Very high caliber of employees in terms of personal character. From top to bottom, one of the best groups of people I've ever had the pleasure of working with in my 30+ years in the IT industry.

    Cons

    Transitioning from not-for-profit due to infuse of external capital a few years ago. Investors understandably demand that they turn a profit. The dynamics have changed and the feeling of working for an altruistic agent of good is starting to feel more like your run-of-the-mill company.

    Advice to Management

    Resist the urge to cut programs that will pay dividends in the long run. Invest in more US based IT support staff to reduce dependency on offshore resources. Other than that, keep doing what you're doing.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Not worthwhile. Go find Kiva or Grameen."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    -Some people there are smart and have vivid/fun personalities
    -People can be "nice"
    -Bagels in the staff lounge every Friday morning were nice
    -Great learning experience, especially if you are interested in learning more about micro-finance and international development as a whole.
    -CEO is very friendly.
    -The organization itself has done amazing work and tries to keep rates low for its clients across low-income countries.
    -Opportunity to meet other interns
    -HR folks are great. They understand FINCA's values more than anyone else there

    Cons

    -Even though there was opportunity to learn firsthand how financial services delivery works, I was mainly typing and editing documents, and doing a bunch of boring administrative backstopping. I was bored out of my mind. They don't care about your own learning objectives, depending on the department.
    -You can work as hard as you want. It won't matter. At the end of the way what you are working on may get tossed out the window and end up never being used.
    -They communicate a lot through silos and you'd have to deal with so much bureaucracy, along with "unwritten rules and leeway"
    -High turnover
    -People don't care! They are just there because it is a job. They do not seem dedicated or passionate about their work.
    -They do not understand their own core values. It was just last year they figured out their branding.
    -Operating with not much vision.
    -Lots of mixed messaging and mixed communication. Expectations are never set clearly. Communication is poor.
    -People are very informal, and friendly when informal, but treat you like crap when they become formal, especially during the quarterly Board meetings.
    -Mediocre work done in a rush versus quality seems to be the norm.
    -No opportunity for professional development, and you'll be lucky if you even get feedback on your work.
    -I had to figure a lot of things without guidance, and even supervisor was winging it. Absolutely no structure.
    -Very little information sharing
    -On-boarding/orientation is very poor
    -They do not know how to make their employees/interns feel valued. Words are not enough!!
    -I was always kept out of the loop of things. Even when I worked on a project, I would hardly get feedback or kept in the loop of its progress or implementation
    -the computers are soooooo slow and hamper on productivity. It took me 30 minutes each morning to get my computer up and running
    -the organization just seems lost

    Advice to Management

    -Get more managerial training and try to treat your interns and volunteers better!
    -Get some vision!
    -Show passion and dedication to your work and the mission, but learn the mission first.


  11. Helpful (2)

    "The most rewarding experience of my career and I would highly recommend it!"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Global Communications Position in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Global Communications Position in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Finca International full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Global team and mission. At FINCA you get to work with a truly diverse, global team where, despite such different backgrounds, everyone shares the same goals and mission. That may seem like a platitude, but at FINCA you will hear several languages spoken in every office (including D.C.) and will work with people from a couple dozen or more countries, but the mission is very clear and everyone is unified towards it. FINCA is also at the leading edge of the microfinance sector, as well as in new, related areas, so it is an exciting place to work, especially now.

    Kinda kumbaya, in a good way. Precisely because FINCA is such a tight-knit group with a unified mission to improve lives, FINCA is one of those rare “feel-good” places to work. There is very definitely a strong family feel here. Not in an overwhelming or cloying way, but in a supportive, warm, trusting and friendly environment where you could very likely develop some life-long friendships. (I felt like I was leaving home when I departed.) At the same time, everyone works very, very hard. But hard work well done is definitely rewarded and acknowledged throughout the organization.

    Continually new perspectives. In most positions you will have the opportunity to interact with staff working all over the world, often in remote areas of developing countries. (Literally 99% of FINCA’s staff are based “in the field” on four continents.) That global interaction is an irreplaceable, culturally enriching experience that will make you see the world in a new way. Talking with my comms and marketing colleagues in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and Latin America, and learning how each of them thought about or approached any given issue (work-related or otherwise) was fun, fascinating, eye-opening, and instructive . . . and almost a daily occurrence at FINCA. I deeply cherished that constant diversity of interaction and perspectives at FINCA, and in those interactions I made friends from around the world.

    Professional development. FINCA goes beyond most orgs to provide unique professional development opportunities that are related to the job, such as temporarily assigning staff (should they desire) to other countries to gain local experience and bring new skills to the region. FINCA has also implemented an extensive women’s initiative with very real deliverables to help women staff grow professionally. For example, they recently held an interactive webinar with about 100 FINCA staff from 20 countries exchanging ideas during an online presentation by a renowned women’s empowerment coach (who donated her time to FINCA).

    The Harvard of NGOs. FINCA hires only the very best. You will find some of the brightest minds in international development, microfinance, and the respective fields of each employee here. So while the hiring process may be extremely selective and require hard work to make the final cut (in some cases, if you are a finalist candidate you may be asked by the department manager to complete case studies or fairly extensive screening assignments), the result is one of the most high-performing teams of professionals you will ever work with or meet, in any field. This makes for an intellectually stimulating environment, but it is not for the faint-hearted. (See “Cons” #1 below)

    Cons

    Steep curves. The learning curve can be steep (depending on your department), especially if you don’t have a background in microfinance or at least in international development. This is more of a warning than a “con” in that, if you can, study up in advance. There are many good courses, books and online resources on microfinance, and they will serve you well.

    Limited travel. Because FINCA is doing everything possible to keep rates low for its microfinance clients, it has cut back considerably on operational costs like international travel. Some people appreciate not having to spend 36 hours to get to the middle of nowhere and then get on a return flight 12 hours later, but if you are looking for opportunities to do a lot of travel to far-flung places (which is in fact where FINCA’s field operations and clients are located), don’t expect to travel there on a whim or without a very good business case.

    On your own. Again, this is a con or a pro depending on what you want and your style. FINCA is itself a dynamic, global entrepreneurial venture (its founder/CEO Rupert Scofield practically invented “social entrepreneurship”; he literally wrote THE book on it, etc.), and a hyper-entrepreneurial culture is pervasive and evident at FINCA. I happen to love that kind of environment, and frankly, coming from much more conservative and bureaucratic employers it took me a while to adjust to FINCA’s welcoming world of “think it and try it!” (At first it seemed too good to be true, but it’s real and is like a Silicon Valley/Google version of an NGO.) Because so many new ideas are constantly being developed at FINCA, and new roles are often created to work on those new developments, you will not find the typical entrenched and bloated infrastructure that you may have come to rely on. So if you aren’t the kind of person who is comfortable making things happen on your own steam – and without a playbook or an extensive internal matrix to fall back on – this may not be the right place for you. But it’s a great place for the right people (and at the right time).

    Advice to Management

    Keep on doing what you’re doing!!



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