Bandhan today finances innumerable landless women, whose monthly income is less than Rs 2,500 (in rural areas) and Rs 3,500 (in urban areas). The first loan offered by Bandhan is between Rs 1,000 and Rs 5,000 for rural areas and between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,000 for urban areas. On repayment, one is entitled to a subsequent loan, which is higher by Rs 1,000-3,000.
But as Ghosh says, it’s perhaps time to look beyond traditional loan schemes. “Our experience suggests that there is a growing need among our members for higher loans so that they can expand their businesses,” he says. To set things right, Bandhan is using a new method now—the Micro Enterprise Programme, which offers loans of Rs 15,000-50,000 to those who have been its members for at least one year.
There are two other riders, though: the loan should be invested in an existing micro enterprise (for expansion) and utilisation of the loan should generate employment for at least one poor person in the locality.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder & CEO of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.