A SUCCESSFUL MICROFINANCE TO BANK:“A CASE SUCCESSFUL MICROFINANCE TO BANK:“A ... individual lending through group formation. ... IDFC Ltd. In terms of client ...
Post on 01-Apr-2018
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A SUCCESSFUL MICROFINANCE TO BANK:A
CASE STUDY OF BANDHAN
Ms. Sheetal Thomas1, Dr. Govind B Dave
2Dean Indukaka Ipcowala Institute of Management, CHARUSAT (India)
There are not many reports about the role of commercial banks in microfinance. This can be due to a large
level of absence in the field. Microfinance in general does not attract commercial banks. Due to this absence of
mainstream commercial banks the microlending activity was taking over by large number of nongovernmental
organizations popularly known as NGOs.This paper aims to study Bandhan as a case study from its
inception as an NGO to its performance as a bank. The first half of the paper is dedicated towards highlighting
its financial structure as an NGO and an NBFC. The paper further analysis its financing structure in last 5
years. Finally the paper concludes with an analysis of the probable challenges to be faced by Bandhan in its
operations as a bank. And Bandhans role in financial inclusion.
Keywords: Bandhan, Banking, Financial Inclusion, Microfinance.
Bandhan was christened in 2001 under the able leadership of Mr. Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, a Senior Ashoka
Fellow. The meaning of bandhan is togetherness and its mission and vision reflects its name. The main thrust of
Bandhan is social upliftment and economic emancipation of women who are socially disadvantaged and
economically exploited. To achieve their objective, Bandhan engages in the delivery of microfinance services to
the poor women residing in rural and urban areas across the country.
Bandhan has been engaged in the delivery of microfinance service for the last 13 years. The model followed is
individual lending through group formation. Bandhans commitment towards triple bottom-line values is
strongly asserted by its intervention in development activities.
The financing structure of Bandhan during its operations as an NGO as per www.mixmarket.org is as follows:
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TABLE1: Financing Structure of Bandhan as an NGO from 2003 to 2006
Figure: 1-Capital Asset Ratio Figure: 2- Deposits to Total Assets
Figure 3:- Debt to Equity Ratio Figure 4:- Gross Loan Portfolio to Total Assets
From the above figures it can be found that Bandhan had a stable financial structure, it canbe noticed that the
capital asset ratio and gross loan portfolio to total assets have constantly increasing showing better capital
planning and loan disbursements.
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As of February 2015, it operates approximately 2,022 branches in 22 states and union territories in India.
Covering 246 districts, with 175 under banked districts. Bandhan has 15,956 staff that cater to 1,34,37,340
clients. Out of which 63,66,296 are active borrowers-all women. The cumulative loan disbursement amounts to
` 4,43,778 million out of which outstanding loans amount to to ` 89,079 million. Bandhan offers loans for
microenterprises and health emergencies and is led by Chairman and Managing Director Chandra Shekhar
Ghosh. Bandhan's past investors include Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Small Industries Development Bank
of India (SIDBI)
As of March 2014, it reported return on assets (ROA) of 5.01 percent and return on equity (ROE) of 28.24
Some of the loan products offered by Bandhan are as follows
TABLE 2: Loan Products Offered by Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
Product Name Loan Size Range
(Months) % Female % Urban Loan Purpose
(Health Loan) 1,000 - 10,000 12 100% 20% - 40%
Other, It can be used only for
emergency health needs. , Can
NOT be used for business
Suchana Loan 1,000 - 15,000 12 100% 20% - 40% Business
Srishti Loan 16,000 - 50,000 24 100% 20% - 40% Business
Susikhsha Loan 1,000 - 10,000 12 100% 20% - 40% Education
Fisheries Loan 10,000 - 50,000 12 - 24 80% - 100% 20% - 40% Business
II. BANDHAN FROM NGO TO A BANK
Bandhan started as an NGO and in 2006 got its status as an NBFC. It further grew into becoming one of the first
MFIs to have granted a banking licence. But why does it need a banking licence, while it does the basic activity
of banking i.e. lending.
Even though NBFCs perform functions similar to that of banks, there are a few differences. One of them is that
an NBFC cannot accept demand deposits, it is not a part of the payment and settlement system and as such, an
NBFC cannot issue cheques drawn on itself; and deposit insurance facility of the Deposit Insurance and Credit
Guarantee Corporation is not available for NBFC depositors, unlike banks.
Over the past couple of years, the Indian banking sector has displayed a high level of resilience in the face of
high domestic inflation, rupee depreciation and fiscal uncertainty in the US and Europe. This has necessitated
the banks in India to concentrate much more on operating efficiency, outsourcing and cost optimization now
than ever before. With deregulation of savings bank rate and bleak global economy, the banks are focusing on
alternative sources of revenue, like fee income, trade and vendor financing, geographic expansion et al to
maximize their revenues. The Banking sector in India has adopted and embraced technology to keep pace with
the international development in the banking industry and offer quality products to its clients. Technology has
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enabled banks to conceive and deliver products that are more in line with the requirements of its clients on the
one hand and also more cost efficient on the other.
Reserve Bank of India (RBI)intended to widen the reach of the `84 trillion banking industry to unserved
&understand segments. According (2012 World bank) document only 35% of Indian adults have access to
formal banking services.
Granting banking licence to Bandhan, a leading microfinance institution (MFI), is the first step towards this. As
it gears up to start operations, Bandhans founder Chandra Shekhar Ghosh aims at extending services beyond
credit to economically weaker sections who have been deprived of these services so far. Nonperforming assets
and defaulters are not an issue for his new bank, he says, but recruiting people for rural services will be a
challenge. Bandhan borrows fund at 12 to 13% & to disburse them among the borrowers. Bandhan has different
levels of challenges & must quickly put it all together within 18 months will have to set itself up as a full fledge
bank where its role will no longer be restricted to meet lending but will also get into the other aspects like,
collecting deposits among other like any other bank.
Mr. Ghosh also quotes about their strategy to start a bank he said Even as it is set to transform itself from a
microfinance institution to a bank, Bandhan promises to maintain the poor as their target for loans & advances.
Our existing captive customers are poor economically backward people with less than `50,000 income per year,
we all now trying to target those with income above `50,000 per year. He said that the physical touch is more
important to reduce NPAs (Nom Performing Assets)
With microfinance continuing to be Bandhan's spine, the next big question that needs to be resolved is of the
choice of its banking model. Bandhan is among the first generation MFIs and follows the Grameen model of
banking. Under this model, credit decisions are taken at the branch level, which facilitates quick disbursal of
loan in about a day's time. New generation MFIs like Ujjivan and Janalakshmi, on the other hand, follow the
retail banking model, where credit is disbursed after credit appraisal at a centralised unit. In these MFIs, the
credit disbursal usually takes about five days.
Bandhan is startlingly different from the other institution that has also been granted a banking licence IDFC
Ltd. In terms of client profile, management bandwidth and asset size, the two are a study in contrast. There
would be number of challenges that they have to face before they make it to be good banks in the country.
III. FINANCING STRUCTURE OF BANDHAN
TABLE 3: Indicative Ratios of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
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In April 2014, Bandhan had an outstanding loans of `5,704 crore; its net worth was ` 1,100 crore (` 96 crore in
equity with a capital adequacy ratio of 21 per cent). Its capitalisation is expected to be sufficient to support its
growth in coming years. The capital adequacy ratio is increasing and it is a positive indicator. It also shows that
the net worth of Bandhan is increasing thus would help them to attract more investments.
3.1 Capital / Asset Ratio
Figure 5:Capital/Asset Ratio of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
The above figure shows the Capital/ Asset ratio of Bandhan MFI of last 5 year. It can be found that there is a
gradual increase in the capital asset ratio for years. Most of the MFIs have a CAR (using Tier 1 only) well
above the 8% minimum. This is appropriate, as analysts suggest that minimum capital adequacy for MFIs
should exceed the Basel II recommendations by at least 50%, i.e. that MFIs should maintain CAR of 12% or
higher. MFIs should have a larger capital buffer for several reasons: first, delinquency rates for MFIs can be
volatile; second, MFI operating expenses are generally higher than for commercial banks; and third, access to
funds for emergency recapitalization is more limited.
3.2 Debt to Equity Ratio
Figure 6:Debt to Equity Ratio of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
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The above figure indicates the debt equity ratio for last five years. It is important for all organisations to
maintain a proper balance between debt and equity.If an MFI has a large amount of equity and very little debt, it
is likely to limit its income generating potential by not making use of external sources of debt (that is, a line of
creditor a loan that can be borrowed for, say, 10% and lent to clients at 24%). Therefore, it maybe better for the
MFI to increase its liabilities, if possible, to increase its income-generating assets (its loan portfolio). However
if DER increases rapidly, it can be said that the MFI is approaching its borrowing limits and this can have an
hindrance to growth. In case of Bandhan the MFI has decreasing DER which improves its borrowing capacity
for future expansions planned.
3.3 Gross Loan Portfolio to Total Assets
The Gross Loan Portfolio to Total Assets ratio indicates the proportion of the core earning assets of the MFI.
Figure 7: Gross Loan Portfolio to Total Assets Ratio of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
Credit is the flagship service offered by MFIs to clients outside the net of formal financial services. For MFIs,
loan portfolio is the primary revenue generating asset. It also gives details about the health of MFIs. The above
figure shows that Bandhan has increased its gross loan portfolio to total assets y-o-y and stands at 91.07% in
fiscal year 2013, and is also the first among top 10 MFIs in with ` 6107 crore in loan portfolio. It also is an
indicator to the performance of the institution and its contributionto the goal of financial inclusion.
3.4. Return on Asset (ROA) and Return on Equity (ROE)
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Figure 8: Gross Loan Portfolio to Total Assets Ratio of Bandhan Financial Services Pvt. Ltd
Return on Asset (ROA) and Return on Equity (ROE) are the two profitability measures that the MFIs and their
investors generally consider for judging the viability of their MFIs. The sector-average ROA and ROE are
generally viable and healthy at a median range of 1.94% and 9.25% respectively.The above Figure represents
the ROA and ROE of Bandhan for last 5 years. In year 2009-10 the ROA is 3.56%. In year 2010-11 it was
increase 5.38% so it indicates that Bandhan generating earnings based on their assets. In year 2013-14 the ROA
is 5.14%. The ROE was lowest for the year 2012 at 26.85% but revived by increasing by 2.05% in 2013 at
28.90%. It can also be noted that the lag period was due to the crisis microfinance faced in recent past. It
indicates that investors can have positive expectations from bandhan as its operations start in due course as a
From the above indicators it can be observed that Bandhan has a stable financial structure, which would allow it
to improve on its borrowings as a structured banking institution. It would require to infuse new capital in next
few months to support its long term plans. Its existing loan portfolio will also be further strengthen by starting
its activities as a bank. The asset quality of bandhan is good thus improving its ROA and ROE in long run. In all
the situation seems to be favourable to Bandhan to operate as a Bank.
But let us draw attention to certain challenges that can be a initial hindrance to Bandhans operations.
IV. CHALLENGES AHEAD
The transition from an NBFC to a bank, however, is not going to be as easy. There are many interviews where
Mr. Gosh points out to the probable challenges that the bank may face. In one of his interviews he said that We
only need to meet the SLR and CRR requirements." Well that is a big requirement, as banks have mandatory
obligations to maintain there is statutory liquidity ratio (SLR) and cash reserve ratio (CRR) at 21.50% and 4%
respectively. Bandhan may not face real difficulty with priority sector lending or rural branches, as its entire
portfolio is priority sector while the RBI's requirement is only 40 per cent.
Another challenge that can be faced is having an appropriate product basket for all. As it expands its business as
a bank, products too need to go through a change to cater to both rural and urban clients. Similar change would
also be required in the model of transactions. As an MFI, collateral free loans were disbursed which now would
be a difficult proposition to continue with. A better risk management approach would have to be adopted to
sustain and grow.
Geographical centre for operations can also be considered as a challenge. As trust is a major factor for banking,
there can be chances that the client base in rest part of India other than east may be willing to experiment with a
Acquiring human resources from upper to lower level management will againbe a challenge. A bank needs
management driven with vision and clarity, setting up a board that can take the right directions and decisions
can be considered as one of the important factors. The existing staff is also a concern as most of them are either
graduates or undergraduates and Bandhan would need to acquire people with better qualification and skills to
improve on their banking dream.
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Keeping the profitability for initial some years can be a concern as most capital would be utilised to set up new
operations, like increasing the number of branches, buying new technology, acquiring human capital, setting up
of ATMs etc.
Lack of technology can also be a hindrance as their clientele would belong mostly to rural parts where internet
connectivity is minimal. This would restrict bank from using latest methodologies of online banking.
The bank may also face stark competition from other commercial banks, these may not be active in rural
markets, but would have a strong urban client base.
Bandhan has to start its banking activities by October 2015, a fare enough time it has received to iron out the
challenges and give banking a new usher of hope.
V. THE DREAM OF FINANCIAL INCLUSION
India is a county where still a large population is very poor, financial inclusion is of great importance to them. It
is a major challenge for the poor toaccess secured and organized finance options. Ensuring the optimum
utilization of the resources they possess is also difficult. Economic and societal uncertainties mean volatility in
their income can have an adverse reaction on the financial stability. Many a times exposing them to unorganized
financial help like money lenders and small time lending institutions. The hope of financial inclusion now lies
with banks, both private and public. In a speech last year the RBI, Deputy Governor, S S Mundra says,
"according to census 2011, out of 24.67 crore households in the country, only about 14.48 crore or 58.70 %
households had access to banking services. Further, of the 16.78 crore rural households, only about 9.14 crore
or 54.46 % households were availing of banking services.
Now there lies a big scope for Bandhan to come forward and play an important role in bringing large population
to financial inclusion.
BandhansMr. Ghosh says inan article that its core commitment to the marginalised section will give it an edge
over other banks while they serve all communities of the society, they will continue to serve the poor in fact,
and they will have a separate head that will look into the underprivileged section of the society. They will serve
the poor to began with it will start with 600-700 branches across the country
He also added that they would introduce the Human Teller Machines (HTMs) rather than ATMs. This could
reduce Non Performing Assets (NPA) because personal touch with human can help to understand their
requirement about financial products & services & also know about their capacity to repay the loan amount.
As a bank, Bandhan will have access to low-cost savings deposits which will help it reduce lending rates in the
future. With its conversion into a bank, 30 lakh of its existing borrowers who don't have bank accounts till now
will come into banking fold automatically.
Bandhan can play a very important role in financial inclusion in India by taking up the following.
Providing financial literacy & awareness for financial empowerment
Providing loans only for productive purposes
Providing loans for education of their children and the loan range is `1000 to 10000. For books & fees etc.
& also provide health loan, emergency health requirement & sanitation purposes.
For real financial inclusion they need to target families and work for their up liftment.
Increased emphasis on grassroots level banking for maximum reach and financial inclusion.
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Keeping up to its main objective of poverty alleviation & women empowerment by introducing organised
banking services and products for women.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb quotes that Banking is a very treacherous business because you don't realize it is risky
until it is too late. It is like calm waters that deliver huge storms. We want to believe that it would not be so
risky for Bandhan to operate as a bank. With an experience of 13 years as a successful MFI, it wont be difficult
to start its operations. Their financial status is good and many organisations have started funding their project by
now. The bank and its CMD are determined to stick to their main objective that is to provide financial
products& services in unbanked rural area and to achieve the financial inclusion through women empowerment
& provide employment for alleviation of poverty in rural area. Currently bandhans main asset is their existing
customers and their trust on their services becomes a major step in setting up of a bank. Their unique ways of
working would lead Bandhan as one of the successful banks in banking sector.
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