Project Team

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Daryl Collins

Project director

Dr. Daryl Collins is co-author of Portfolios of the Poor and Managing Director at BFA, a global consulting firm with offices in Boston, New York, Nairobi, Medellín. Dr. Collins has built up a broad portfolio of work with foundations, bilateral institutions and private financial services providers linking an understanding of household financial management to the business case for services that will help address some of the most significant challenges that face low income households. Her work is grounded in a deep understanding of the financial behaviors of low income people across the globe, leveraging the experience of executing Financial Diaries studies in Kenya, India, Mexico, South Africa, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Pakistan and advising the U.S. Financial Diaries. Dr. Collins holds a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. in economics from the London School of Economics and a Ph.D. from New York University.

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Maelis Carraro

Project Manager

Maelis Carraro is an Associate for the Supply Side and FinTech Practices. Her work focuses on the business case of alternative delivery channels such as agent networks and mobile money and business models for financial service providers. She joins the firm from the International Finance Corporation, where she advised and worked with regional teams on microfinance projects globally.  Maelis holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a Master in International Affairs from Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.

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Ashirul Amin

Senior associate

Ashirul Amin is a Senior Associate at BFA, specializing in forensic portfolio analytics of financial institutions which provide savings and loan services to low income clients. His work informs discussions around client segmentation, product sustainability, savings behavior, and cross-sell by utilizing custom-built algorithms. Projects he has worked on include InFocus, GAFIS and OPTIX, and his work-related travels have taken him to Latin America, East Africa, and South and South East Asia. Ashirul has a PhD in Development Economics at The Fletcher School at Tufts University. Prior to joining the Doctoral program, he worked at a financial services company focused on emerging markets, and an impact investment firm. He holds a M.A. from The Fletcher School, and a B.S.E. (Computer Science) from Princeton University.

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Gabriela Zapata

Senior Associate

Gabriela is a strategic advisor to various private and public institutions and fintech startups involved in financial inclusion in Latin America, with special emphasis on Mexico. She is also actively involved on a number of projects focusing on applied product innovation, user-centered design, behavioral sciences, product cross-sell, access channels, financial capabilities and others with MetLife Foundation, CGAP and the Center for Financial Inclusion.

Previously, she was Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Director of Promotion of Financial Organizations at the Ministry of Agriculture in Mexico. She holds a master’s degree in International Agriculture and Rural Development from Cornell University and lives in Mexico City.

Full biography here.

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Kelly Nguyen

assistant Project Manager

Kelly Nguyen is an Analyst in the FinTech Practice at BFA. Her expertise isin-depth research and building market competitive analysis. Kelly recently received a Bachelor of Science degree from Babson College, where she studied Business Management with a concentration in Economics and Entrepreneurship. She founded “Young Entrepreneurs Adventure Vietnam,” a youth development non-profit organization for students, instructing and encouraging the spirit of entrepreneurship.

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Laura Cojocaru

senior associate

Laura works for the demand-side practice of BFA, focusing on quantitative analysis of behavior, and on demand-related aspects of financial inclusion. Since joining BFA in 2012, Laura has assisted work on Financial Diaries projects in South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, India, Pakistan, and Mexico. Laura has also provided research support on projects related to mobile money adoption, usage of banking correspondents, and consumer protection in financial services. Her current research interests are the implications of behavioral biases related to salience for the propensity to save. Laura holds a Masters and a Ph.D. degree in Economics from the University of Delaware, where her Ph.D. thesis focused on the macroeconomic effects of financial development on economic growth, inequality and poverty in Central and Eastern European countries and the Commonwealth of Independent States, following the fall of Communism. 

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Natalia Gomez

senior associate

Natalia Gomez specializes in business case analysis and strategy for financial institutions focused on increasing financial inclusion. Natalia began her career as an investment advisor in New York for the Latin American private banking operation of a large British bank. She then moved to Colombia and began an eleven year career at Bancolombia where she worked in several areas including process management; small businesses and microfinance; and alternative sales channels. One of her final roles at Bancolombia was to create and direct the Financial Inclusion team.  Natalia holds a B.Sc. in industrial engineering from Escuela de Ingenieria de Antioquia (Colombia), an M.Sc. in applied mathematics from EAFIT University (Colombia), a Certificate in Latin American Studies from Duke University, and an M.A. in international development policy from the same university. In 2008, she was granted a Fulbright scholarship to undertake her graduate studies in the US. 

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Sushmita Meka

associate

Sushmita Meka focuses on client insights with the demand-side team at BFA. While with BFA, she has focused on the potential to bring low-income households into the formal financial system via digital channels. Prior to BFA, Sushmita supported financial inclusion impact evaluation and policy dissemination with the IFMR Centre for Micro Finance in India. She has also worked in Kenya and Zimbabwe to explore the potential for mobile payments to support the health and financial services sectors. Sushmita holds a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Economics from the University of Southern California. 

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