India: Micro-Finance Firms Grow 100% Despite Slowdown

Oct 2009
New Delhi, India, October, 20 2009 - Despite the global slowdown, the Indian micro finance institutions are on an upsurge. The micro finance institutions have registered a whopping 100 per cent increase in the total loan portfolio at Rs 11,700 (USD 2.53 billion) crore at the end of March. The total number of clients too increased to 76.6 million at the end of 2008-09 against 59 million clients a year-ago.

“Unlike the global scenario, the micro finance institutions (MFIs) in India have shown a rapid growth and we added close to 8.5 million clients during 2008-09, an increase of 60 per cent over the previous year,” said Brij Mohan, chairperson of Access Development Services.

“The average cost of lending for MFIs is coming down by 1.5 per cent every year and the average rate of lending stands at 21.5 per cent,” Mohan added.

Asked about the average ticket size of the loan that is being distributed by MFIs, Vipin Sharma, chief executive officer of Access Development Services, said, “ The average ticket size of loans being distributed stands at Rs 6,000, which is lower compared with global yardsticks, where it is around $300 per person.”

Access Development Se-rvices is a not-for-profit firm and it organises Micro Finance Summit every year. This year, the two-day summit will start on October 26.

The theme for this year would be ‘Doing good and doing well’. The micro finance sector is of the view that the sector has catered to the needs of persons those who need it most, reasonably well. But, the sector has to keep the good work going.

On the impediment that the sector is facing, Brij Mohan said, “MFIs (other than some NBFCs) are not allowed to accept deposits from public, to an extent that impacts our ability to lend.”

The MFI sector is also awaiting the passage of Micro Financial Sector (Development and Regulation) Bill. The bill makes Nabard the regulator for the micro-financial sector.


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