Microfinance Focus, October 1, 2010: After expanding its reach in North Eastern corridor, Bangalore based Ujjivan Financial Services, has now entered the agriculturally advanced state of Punjab by opening two branches in Bhatinda & Abohar.
With an objective of reducing the economic disparity and cover the areas which have remained deprived of access to financial services in Punjab, Ujjivan will be providing micro-credit to needy working women of the state. The decision to begin its operations in Punjab came after Ujjivan conducted a feasibility study of microfinance in Punjab by a multidisciplinary team in Nov – Dec 2009.
As per the findings of the study, poor in Punjab have so far been paying high interest rates of 5-20% per month. “They are unable to create assets and expand business in the absence of credit at affordable cost”, explained Vikram Jetley, COO-North, Ujjivan.
Despite being an agriculturally advanced state, Mr. Jetley feels that credit at affordable rate is need of the hour. “Punjab is a state where rate of interest and demand for credit is very high. Grameen America is giving micro-credit to a group of 5 women in New York. There are 28 million unbanked people in USA. Potential exists everywhere, but for this there is a need to devise products suitable to the target population” he said.
After the consolidation of microfinance operations in existing operational areas- Delhi/NCR, UP & Rajasthan, Ujjivan in North has doubled its branch strength in the last six months. Currently, Ujjivan is operating in 7 states & Union Territories in north India having an outreach of 65 branches & serving 135,000 economically active working women.