Financial Inclusion in Action

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Financial Inclusion Histories

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We do most of our work in a historical vacuum. We tend to think of today's problems and opportunities as unique. That's a natural bias in an age imbued with a sense of inexorable progress reliant on technological solutions. But if we lift our gaze over historical time, we find numerous references to issues and… Continue reading

Communication – The Achilles Heel of Direct Benefit Transfers – Part II

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We strongly believe that an integrated communication approach should be the starting point of large Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) programmes. It certainly helps to be as clear and succinct as possible to manage expectations. In the previous blog we highlighted how poor and often contradictory communication is leading to mass confusion and apprehension amongst beneficiaries.… Continue reading

Does the New Inclusion Scheme Risk Adding a Rs. 1,000 Billion Subsidy Burden?

The Prime Minister is all set to announce a mega new programme on financial inclusion on India’s Independence Day. The Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, is busy shaping the ‘Sampoorn Vittiyea Samaveshan (SVS)’ (Comprehensive Financial Inclusion) scheme in consultation with bankers. Anyone closely associated with the financial inclusion space will worry that without very… Continue reading

Several Times Bitten: Still Not Shy?

The intention to provide at least two accounts to each household in the next one year is welcome. But the question in everybody’s mind is: how will the target be achieved, and what will be the status of these accounts at the end of this exercise? The target itself is ambitious: we want to open… Continue reading

Innovation Overkill: Why Product Innovation in Financial Inclusion isn’t Always the Right Move

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Amid all the renewed talk about product innovation and a client centric (or what we at MicroSave have, for over a decade now, called a “market-led”) approach to financial inclusion, I find myself wondering if we have lost sight of two key aspects: The differences between market leaders and market followers The challenges of advancing through the… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – What Will It Take?

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In the blog “NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-I” we highlighted the range of benefits for both NBFC-MFIs and banks in arrangements under which NBFC-MFIs operate as BCs for banks. In“NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? Part-II” we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the model for NBFC-MFIs. But of course the… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-II)

As we highlighted in NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I) the benefits for NBFC-MFIs and banks are pretty clear – we summarise them below. Benefits of the BC Model for Key Stakeholders (from Microfinance in India – Is Business Correspondent (BC) the Way Forward?) Benefits for NBFC-MFIs Benefits for Banks The model significantly de-risks… Continue reading

NBFC-MFIs As Business Correspondents – Who Benefits? (Part-I)

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It has happened! In May 2012, MicroSave’s study of the potential for MFIs to acts as business correspondents (BCs) concluded, “MFIs are potentially and excellent channel and product development partner for banks, as long as they have the capacity and resources to dedicate to it. MFIs can help all stakeholders to leverage their existing engagement… Continue reading

Financial Inclusion and New Product Development — What Should Guide Us?

The answer is, of course, customer needs. Customers’ knowledge and perceptions about the financial services on offer—plus any challenges in accessing these services—are the other two major guiding factors. With all this in mind, any service provider can develop and then modify successful products. Easy to outline in a very short paragraph, easy to comprehend,… Continue reading

The Mor Committee – Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due (Part-II)

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Priority Sector Lending (PSL) and Credit Pricing   The Mor Committee on “Comprehensive Financial Services for Small Businesses and Low Income Households has also made a number of suggestions related to the priority sector lending (PSL). The Committee recommends raising the overall PSL requirement to 50% of adjusted net bank credit (ANBC) or credit equivalent… Continue reading