SKS Microfinance, one of the world’s leading microfinance companies, plans to expand its operations to cover most districts in Bihar and reach out to 3 lac poor households by March, 2009. SKS started operations in Bihar in July 2006 and presently has a membership base of 70,000 poor households across 26 districts. It has three area offices in Gaya, Bhagalpur and Patna and 50 branch offices across the state.
“The coming year, we will expand our operations to cover most of the 37 districts in the state. Bihar has over 1 core poor and low-income households across the state and we need to provide access to finance for these families. By March 09, we plan to extend Rs.210 crore loans to 3 lac households impacting 15 lac lives,” said Vikram Akula, CEO & Founder, SKS Microfinance.
SKS Microfinance currently serves 17 lac clients across 15 states and has disbursed nearly Rs. 2,000 crores in unsecured credit with a 99.8% repayment rate. SKS also provides life and health insurance products. It has 651 branches covering 20,000 villages and slums across the country and is adding 50 new branches and 1.5 lakh new clients per month.
Borrowers use loans for starting micro-enterprises, ranging from livestock, trade, services and agriculture. Returns on borrower enterprises average 100%, enabling them to earn income, build assets, and get out of poverty. SKS uses a lending model that was developed by Nobel Prize winner, Muhummad Yunus of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The system involves forming groups of women who serve as guarantors for each other, thus enabling SKS to provide loans without taking any collateral from borrowers.
In FY 2008-09, SKS plans to disburse an additional Rs 5,200 crores to clients in nearly 40,000 villages and slums across the country. SKS also plans to add new financial services, ranging from other micro-insurance products to remittances.
In Bihar, SKS has disbursed loans worth Rs.55 crore and has a total outstanding of Rs.38 crore. It presently operates in Araria, Banka, Begusari, Bhagalpur, Bhojpur, Buxar, East Champaran, Gaya, Kaimur, Katihar, Khagaria, Kishanganj, Lakhisari, Munger, Muzaffarpur, Nalanda, Nawada, Patna, Purnia, Rohtash, Saharsa, Samastipur, Saran, Shiekhpura, Siwan and Vaishali.
“We will be launching operations in Chapra, Sitamarhi and West Champaran in the coming months. We plan to increase our branch network from 50 to 140 and staff strength from 600 to 850 by March ‘09,’ explained K.V.Rao, Vice President, Member Services.