Until the outbreak of conflict, AKDN's work spanned six major provinces (Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Latakia, Sweida and Tartous), serving both rural and urban populations. It encompassed rural economic development, tourism and enterprise development, the strengthening of civil society organisations and the protection of cultural heritage.
Following FMFB-S’s establishment, other microfinance institutions opened, including UNRWA’s Ebdaa Bank and the National Institution for Microfinance, Al-Wataniya. The sector was thriving until the outbreak of the conflict, which led these institutions to stop operating completely. Operations were resumed at a rudimentary level as the security situation in the Damascus governorate became more stable towards the end of 2014.
FMFB-S is the only MFI that continued operations throughout the conflict as part of AKDN’s humanitarian response. It gave clients access to saving services and financing for businesses and housing. Due to security challenges loan disbursements were suspended in Homs and Aleppo, while deposit services were maintained. Loan disbursements were subsequently restarted.
Since the onset of the crisis, FMFB-S has also partnered with local organisations to facilitate aid distribution projects such as cash assistance through saving accounts. This provides immediate relief while promoting a culture of financial inclusion.