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It has been a fulfilling journey so far
The demonetization of high-value currency notes has come as a setback for micro finance institutions (MFIs) by the end of 2016.
The microfinance industry is cash-intensive. Most of the borrowers take loans in cash and they repay loans through cash. Even many of the borrowers who have bank accounts do not know how to transact through them. Thus, cash transactions in the rural economy, where most of the MFIs operate, become inevitable.
But one cannot overwhelm the fact that 2016 was indeed a great year in the annals of Microfinance history. The setting up of MUDRA bank is also expected to bring about uniformity in regulations for all MFI entities .Refinancing for MFIs at lower than market rates could lead to reduction in the borrowing cost by around 60-100 bps depending on the share of funding from MUDRA in the overall funding mix of an MFI.
On the business front, Manappuram Finance Ltd, capital infusion into the Company has embarked a swift growth to Asirvad. In the year 2016 Asirvad started its operations in the states of Uttrakhand, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan thereby deepening our presence with 699 branches in 15 states and 2 Union territories. During this year Asirvad had a stupendous portfolio growth of 135% than previous year with employee strength of 3717. CARE has upgraded the grading of the Company to MFI 1 which is the highest in the industry. The bank loan rating is also upgraded to A- by ICRA & CARE and A+ by CRISIL.
As a regulated financial institution, Asirvad maintains a focus on targeted individual and groups, i.e., low income households but with a strong emphasis on transforming these enterprises into business successes and getting their owners out of poverty. Asirvad also operates a window for growth-oriented small and medium enterprises popularly known as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). This will afford mature microfinance clients the opportunity to contract bigger loans and exploit more business opportunities.
We have touched the lives of more members at the bottom of the pyramid, both rural and urban, through our financial interventions. As of October, 2016, AMPL crossed 10 Lakh active borrowers. We have also further consolidated our exemplary image as a transparent, efficient and progressive development institution which has elevated Asirvad as 8th among the top 10 MFI in India.
The efforts of every single staff of the organization, spanning across different verticals, contributed to this achievement. Our staffs continue to be the pillars of strength for Asirvad and no amount of words would be adequate to thank them for their phenomenal efforts and I am sure Asirvad will be able to scale new highs with their enthusiasm and commitment.
Asirvad Development Foundation has continued its good work in providing education, Sanitation and medical assistance to the needy. ADF function actively by providing financial assistance to the underprivileged deserving students for Education and renovation of dilapidated school buildings, etc.
My sincere gratitude to chairman and Board members, without their support and strategic inputs; we would not have reached our current position. I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the new Board members and I am sure that the Company would be able to achieve manifold milestones in the days and years to come.
We are at an exciting phase in the growth journey of Asirvad; touch challenges await us but I am more than confident that we will be able to overcome all of them and march forward in this glorious journey. Every year ever since we began this journey has been satisfying; however, we have many more promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep. I sincerely look forward to the support and encouragement of all the stakeholders in making a difference in the lives of the underserved, ensure we manage to fund the unfunded, and contribute our bit in fulfilling the country’s objective of financial inclusion.