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Bandhan provides financial services to more than 50,000 working poor

Posted by Página do Microcrédito em 12 julho, 2007

With 800mn of India`s 1bn people living on less than $2 a day, Bandhan is bringing economic opportunity to a huge underserved market

Bandhan, a Kolkata-based microfinance institution and Unitus, Inc. partner, on Tuesday announced that it is now providing life-changing financial services to more than 500,000 of India’s working poor. With about 350 branches across five states – West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Tripura and Assam – Bandhan has disbursed loans totaling Rs4.13bn, with a portfolio outstanding at Rs1.66bn.

With 800mn of India’s 1bn people living on less than $2 a day, Bandhan is bringing economic opportunity to a huge underserved market. Bandhan’s accomplishment is especially noteworthy because fewer than 2% of microfinance institutions in the world reach even 100,000-clients, making Bandhan a leader in the fight to alleviate global poverty.

In addition to its microcredit services, Bandhan is also developing credit-plus programs. “Over these years of microfinance operations, we realized that microfinance is not the last word for development, there is something more to be done,” says C.S.Ghosh, Founder and CEO, Bandhan. “We learnt that microcredit programs bypass the poorest of the poor, and we wanted to include this neglected section of the population,” explained Ghosh.

The Chartering into UnVentured Frontiers – Targeting the Hard Core Poor (CUF-THP) Program is tailored to meet this very need. The idea is to select the poorest pockets through a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercise, provide necessary training after the beneficiaries have selected their respective enterprise and then transfer the asset to the selected beneficiaries. The program provides grant support (in the form of an asset) to clients for about 18 months.

There will be complete supervision and monitoring of these beneficiaries during this period to ensure that they are able to improve their standard of living. The ultimate objective is to transition these clients to the mainstream microfinance program at the end of 18-24 months. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is also closely involved with this project. This idea won Bandhan the CGAP Pro Poor Innovation Challenge Award early last year.

Bandhan has selected one of the poorest districts (Murshidabad) of West Bengal to pilot its CUF-THP rural program. The first asset transfer is scheduled to take place at Sargachhi on July 11, 2007. “It is a unique program in itself and we are looking at covering at least 3,000 hard-core poor by the end of March 2008,” said Ghosh.

Source: http://www.indiainfoline.com/

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