Mr. Manoj Nambiar has over 32 years of working experience and is currently with the Aavishkaar Group as the Managing Director of Arohan Financial Services Limited.
He started his career with Modi Xerox in 1988 and moved into financial services with GE Countrywide in 1995. He did stints with ANZ Grindlays and ABN Amro Bank NV India and then moved to the Middle East joining National Bank of Oman as Head Retail Banking in 2002 looking after Oman, UAE, and Egypt. He became the COO of the Alhamrani - Nissan Finance company, KSA and thereafter the Deputy CEO of Ahli Bank SAOG in Muscat, Oman. He returned to India in June 2010 as MD & CEO of IntelleCash Microfinance Network Company (P) Limited (an Intellecap Group company) in the business of incubating and capacity building of MFIs getting deputed as the MD of Arohan in 2012.
Mr. Nambiar is a mechanical engineer by graduation from VJTI in 1986, an MBA in Marketing by post-graduation from JBIMS in 1988, both from Mumbai University and has tertiary qualifications in insurance from III. He has also completed a “Strategic Leadership in Microfinance” course from the Harvard Business School, Boston, the US in April 2013 and “Strategy meets leadership” course from INSEAD, France in Aug’19. He joined the MFIN board first in 2013, was the President in 2015 and got re-elected in 2018. Mr Nambiar likes to listen to soft music in his free time.
Mr. Devesh Sachdev
Chairperson MD & CEO,Fusion Micro Finance Ltd.
An XLRI postgraduate with an experience of over 19 years in varied sectors of Banking, Logistics and Microfinance, Devesh co-founded Fusion in 2010. Under his leadership, Fusion has grown to a client base of 1.85 MN clients with a portfolio size of 3,600 Cr in 18 states of India. Devesh’s long term vision and executing strategy is validated by the marquee PE firm Warbug Pincus’s decision to choose Fusion to make its first investment in the Indian Microfinance arena in 2018. His unwavering conviction on upholding organizational value system has enabled Fusion to strive despite of volatile and turbulent environment which sector has faced intermittently over the last one decade.
Devesh has served various Boards since 2008 and was elected as Vice President of MFIN in 2017. He has represented the sector in diverse forums and platforms to create a healthy and positive outlook. He got awarded as the ‘50 Fastest Growing CEOs of India’ by ‘The CEO Magazine’ in 2018. He is a strong advocate of agile transformation and digital innovation for employee centric seamless operations which made Fusion the “Best Workplaces in MFI” in its debut year of GPTW certification with 66th position in top 100 workplaces in India.
Mr. Dibyajyoti Pattanaik
Director, Annapurna Finance Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Dibyajyoti Pattanaik has over 17 years of experience in microfinance, micro-enterprise development and development sector consulting. Previously, he had contributed as a business consultant for APITCO in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises space. He has worked with Public and Development Sector Institutions in various roles prior joining Peoples’ Forum as Program Head & CFO in 2007. Currently, he is the Director of Annapurna Finance Pvt. Ltd.
He is also serving as the President of OSAFII (Odisha Association of Financial Inclusion) which is actively working towards Financial Inclusion in the state of Odisha for development of the underprivileged to serve them through responsible finance. He has served as the Vice President of MFIN, where he contributed to the overall issues pertaining to the financial inclusion sector.
Dibyajyoti holds a Post Graduate Diploma in development studies from EDII (Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India), Ahmedabad, and has successfully completed a management programme in micro-finance from Boulder Institute of Microfinance, Turin, Italy. In addition, he has also attended Strategic leadership in the field of Inclusive Finance from Harvard Business School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Mr. Gyan Mohan
Director & CEO, Adi Chitragupta Finance Ltd.
Mr. Gyan Mohan is a career banker with exposure in all facets of Banking and Finance including investment and international banking. He started his career as a Probationary Officer in SBI in 1979 and has held many important assignments in SBI including V.P. (Forex and Money market control) at SBI, Frankfurt, part of strategy team of Chairman, SBI etc. He worked with SBI Capital Market as SVP & GH (M & A) and is credited with advising on many privatization, mergers, and advisory assignments. He has held leadership positions in SBI, IDBI Capital, Power Exchange India Limited, Fortune Financial Services Limited, and SIS India Limited.
Mr. Mohan has keen interest in social banking and has been associated with poverty alleviation programme during his various assignments at SBI.
Mr. Vivek Tiwari
MD & CEO, Satya MicroCapital Ltd.
Mr. Vivek Tiwari has an experience of nearly two decades in Microfinance and Development Sector. His expertise lies in the innovative deployment of technological framework for incubating responsible lending, financial inclusion, social entrepreneurship, and impact investing within national boundaries.
It was his far-sightedness and visionary thinking that made SATYA one of the fastest growing MFIs in the country with a strong network of over 1800 employees working across 22 states. Mr Tiwari spearheads the company’s strategic efforts, driving expansion with morality and a vision to develop entrepreneurship for the people at the Bottom of Pyramid.
He holds a Post Graduate Degree in Rural Development & Management from the Institute of Engineering & Rural Technology, Allahabad. He is also a certified professional of the Management Programme from Boulder Microfinance Training, Italy. He was felicitated with the BFSI Leadership Award as well as ‘Bharat Jyoti Award’ by India International Friendship Society for his contribution to the financial inclusion movement and for playing a pivotal role in accelerating the JLG/WSHG movement.
Mr. Prashant Thakker
Vice-Chairperson ED & CEO Centrum Microcredit Ltd.
Mr. Prashant Thakker has been proved instrumental in the growth of Centrum Microcredit Ltd since its inception. He is also the founder and managing partner of ProGro Ventures and Advisor, an impact investing and advisory platform. With nearly 17 years of experience within the MFI industry, Prashant was with Standard Chartered Bank in a variety of roles including being the Global Head for Microfinance for almost a decade(2005-2015).He had launched Standard Chartered’s Microfinance program & has overseen equity, debt & mezzanine investments in over 100 Financial services intermediaries for over $2 Bn in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East across 22 countries.
Prashant has worked with global development financial institutions including the ADB, IFC and the World Bank Group and has implemented award winning programs which helped to increase access to finance the world’s unbanked and under-banked populations. He had completed several executive programs from Wharton and INSEAD, holds a PGDBM (Finance) and has graduated as a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Entrepreneurship Management.
Mr. Udaya Kumar Hebbar
MD & CEO, CreditAccess Grameen Ltd.
Mr. Udaya Kumar Hebbar is the MD & CEO of CreditAccess Grameen, India’s largest NBFC-MFI. He is a veteran banker and a visionary in the microfinance industry. He has guided the organization through the public listing and steered further growth through the merger of Madura Microfinance. He has been the driving force behind the contiguous expansion of the company across India. He has a persistent focus on consumer value and protection that has led to the unique positioning of CA Grameen with industry-leading customer retention rates and products. CreditAccess Grameen has grown manifolds under his leadership and the company is well recognized and accredited with the highest ratings and awarded with numerous prestigious accolades in the financial industry.
Udaya holds a master’s degree in Commerce, is a certified associate from the Indian Institute of Bankers and is also a graduate in banking operations and technology from BAI, USA. He has vast experience of over 35 years in the financial services sector. Prior to joining CA Grameen, he has served in organizations like ICICI Bank, Corporation Bank, and Barclays Bank. He has served as President of Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN), Chairperson of the Association of Karnataka Microfinance Institutions (AKMI), and as a member of IRDAI's Microinsurance Committee in the past,
Mr. Amardeep Singh Samra
MD and CEO, Midland Microfin Ltd
Mr. Amardeep Singh Samra is the MD and CEO of Midland Microfin Ltd. which is the first Punjab based microfinance institution and is one of the leading NBFC-MFIs in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttarakhand serving 0.45 Mn clients. Under his leadership in a short span of ten years, Midland Microfin has achieved exemplary landmarks including excellent asset quality.
He has a specialization in Finance, Marketing and Administration, introduced various innovative ideas within the business. He pioneered the concept of centralized credit sanctioning coupled with digital and cashless disbursement and was instrumental in creating an institution with focus on Corporate Governance andethical client relationship management.He successfully established an employee focused organization which is certified as ‘Great Place To Work’ for the second consecutive year.
Passionate about Photography and Art,he is a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA) and a life member of Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) and participates across regional & international exhibitions. An avid runner and cyclist; he regularly participates across marathons across India. Furthermore, he is a member of Young Presidents Organisation (YPO) Punjab Chapter, the world’s premium network of chief executives.
Mr. Harish Raghu has a rich and varied experience of over 24 years across Agri, Rural, Banking and Financial sector. He has previously worked as a COO of Future Financial Services Ltd. (erstwhile Fincare) and CPO at Spandana Spoorthy. He has also been associated with Fullerton Gramshakti, ICICI bank, Madras Fertilizers in the past. His core expertise includes Sales, Operations, HR, Branch banking, Communications & PR, and Marketing. Mr. Raghu pursued B.Sc. in Agriculture, PGDBM and EGMP from IIM, Bengaluru. He is well connected to various rural management institutes where he is invited for guest lectures and conducts industry workshops on HR and Operations. Harish is an avid traveller.
Mr. Desh Raj Dogra
Ex-MD & CEO CARE Ratings
Mr. Desh Raj Dogra has 39 years of rich experience within the financial sector in the areas of banking and credit rating. He has maintained a high growth trajectory after taking over as acting Managing Director and made CARE the second largest rating agency. Mr. Dogra also worked closely with the Ministry of Finance, Government of India, where CARE prepared a dossier on the Indian Economy as well as white papers on both the equity and debt markets for the Ministry. Mr. Dogra holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in Agriculture from Himachal Pradesh University and MBA from Faculty of Management Studies, University of Delhi. He is a certified associate of the Indian Institute of Bankers.
Dr. Aruna Limaye Sharma
Indian Administrative Service Officer (Retd.)
Dr. Aruna Sharma, a Madhya Pradesh Cadre 1982, retired in 2018 as the Secretary, Steel in the Government of India. Prior to that, she was the Secretary, Information Technology in the Government of India. She is practitioner development economist with MSc from University of Bath UK and doctorate from University of Delhi. She has worked in development and core sectors. Her publications are - Reaching the Last Beneficiary: Resource Convergence Mantra Model –2008 (UNDP), Impact of Recourse Convergence in Policy Making, Program Design and Execution – 2014 (UNDP) and and latest is You@Game Changer for inclusive growth. She addressed John F Kennedy School, Harvard University on the issue of Financial Inclusion. She was member of a five-member high level committee of RBI on Deepening Digital Payment.
Mr. Vineet Chattree
Director, Svatantra Microfin Pvt. Ltd.
Mr. Vineet Chattree has over 25 years of experience spanning across Operations, financial services, Consulting and Merger & Acquisition domains in India, Middle East and US. Vineet currently heads both Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd and Svatantra Microhousing Finance Corporation Limited, which make differentiated offerings to the economically weaker and low-income group segments in Rural and Tier III segments across the country. Both these businesses cater to niche segments through unique customer-centric business models with a central purpose of making a meaningful difference in the lives of the customers – be it through financial awareness, financial inclusion, empowerment or access to basic infrastructure.
Vineet is a chemical engineering graduate from Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai and has completed his Master of Management from IIT – B and Executive Management Program at Wharton. An avid reader, trekker, marathon runner and a firm believer in the preaching of Bhagavad Gita.
Head - Advocacy and Development
Swetan Sagar has an MBA degree from Indian Institute of Forest Management (IIFM), Bhopal. He was earlier working with M-CRIL at the position of Chief Operating Officer and has over 18 years of experience in designing and leading multi-country programme evaluations in the financial inclusion space. His key areas of expertise include data analytics, market research, impact assessments, institutional assessments, capacity building of financial institutions and livelihood promotion institutions catering to the low-income segment.
Swetan has led many projects in the financial inclusion and enterprise development sectors across India and 15+ countries in the Asia and Africa region.
VP-Advocacy and Development
Amit is a professional with almost a decade of work experience. He has been working with MFIN since March,2015. Previously he has worked with BASIX India in livelihood development and ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd. as a Product Manager for group health insurance (Micro Insurance product). His most recent association was with the World Bank Group in the sphere of Digital Financial services. Amit has completed his Post- Graduate Diploma in Rural Management from IRMA, Anand.
AVP – Fintech and Projects
Piyush leads all the FinTech initiatives and related Projects at Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) under advocacy and development vertical. He has 11+ Years of work experience as Consultant, Strategic Alliance head and as Product and Project Lead in Digital Financial Services, FinTech and Financial Inclusion domain. Piyush has hands on experience of working with Remittance business, E-Governance, ICT4D, Business Correspondence, Mobile Money and Pre-paid instruments, India Stack, Aadhaar and other traditional and emerging Payment systems. He has done his masters from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar (XIMB) and executive course from Columbia business school. He is a certified Digital Banking and Design Thinking Practitioner, along with certifications on Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning for business.
Raj Kumar Chauhan
Manager - Information Hub
Raj has a professional experience of 12 years within development sector. Prior to MFIN he has
worked with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Global Fund Projects and State AIDS Control Society.
He has pursued his postgraduate in Social Science specializing in Data Management from Andhra
Finance Officer – Projects
Denish Parshad has pursued his MBA in Finance from Saptarishi University ( Lucknow) and Bachelors in Commerce from Delhi University. He has over fourteen years of experience in accounting and financial systems, grant /sub Awards Management, budget management and monitoring, financial MIS, compliance and audits, procurement and administration. He has worked for various international NGOs where he supervised and supported sub-grantees strengthening their capacities under programs funded by The Global Fund, USAID, Taiwan Government etc.
Head, Self-Regulation & Compliance Officer
Sugandh heads the SRO vertical at MFIN. She joined MFIN during its start-up phase and played the lead role in MFIN’s policy & advocacy work, development of credit bureau ecosystem, MFIN’s data publications and research as well as setting standards and benchmarks. Before joining MFIN in 2011, she had worked with Bharat Electronic, SEWA, ITC and ACTED across a wide spectrum of areas related to technology, business and development themes. She is an Engineering graduate from MNNIT, Allahabad and post graduate in Social policy from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
Sheetal joined MFIN in 2016 and has been part of different SRO functions including CGRM, Third-party Evaluations, enforcement and SRO governance. She currently leads the SRO work in terms of framing standards, research, enforcement and governance. Before joining MFIN, she was managing commercialisation of ICAR Technologies and Capacity building of various stakeholders with Agrinnovate India Limited. She has
three years of rich experience with ICICI Bank Ltd. both in SME (asset side working capital funding of credit and non- credit facilities) and Retail Branch banking. Before Joining ICICI Bank, she was associated with BASIX within Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Limited (BSFL), a NBFC dealing with microfinance and livelihood sustainability in Credit and Risk management team, where she also managed microfinance operations at the field level. Sheetal has completed her MBA in Rural Management from IRMA and is a B.Sc (Ag) Graduate from OUAT, BBSR.
Sankalp has been working with MFIN since Aug, 2016 as a Manager, Grievance Redressal, within the SRO team. Prior to MFIN, he has worked with GIZ on rural insurance and agriculture value chain development projects. He has worked briefly with Yes Bank and Ananya Finance on internship assignments related to financial literacy, process mapping and loan product development. Sankalp has completed his Post-Graduate Diploma in Rural Management from IRMA, Anand and Masters from TISS, Mumbai.
Jay joined MFIN’s SRO function in 2017 and leads SRO’s monitoring function as well as reporting to the RBI. He has more than six years of experience from diverse background in consultancy, CSR, NGO’s and Media. He has worked with, Mancer consulting services, Katha, Swayam Siddha and Daily News and as an Analysis in the past. Jay holds a master’s degree in International development from the University of Manchester. He has also studied journalism from Asian College of Journalism and Business Administration from Symbiosis Centre of
Customer Grievance Redressal Officer
Rahul is the Customer Grievance Redressal Officer and team lead for CCEs for MFIN’s Customer Grievance Redressal Mechanism (CGRM). Rahul has been involved with financial services for the past 7 years. He started his career a loan officer with HDFC bank where he played a key role in the SHG/JLG formation and bank linkages, loan appraisal and documentation, and other SHG and JLG group management activities. He did his diploma ‘Triploma in Livelihood Promotion and Micro banking’ from Basix Academy in 2011. He also holds an MBA in Finance from Sikkim Manipal University.
Through field visits and various projects, Rahul has had hands-on experience of financial inclusion services from field level upwards. He is also conversant in various banking software like Banksoft and Finacle.”
Head - State Initiatives
Achla has been working with MFIN since April 2014 and is responsible for looking after the state and regional chapters. Prior to MFIN she has worked with Sa-Dhan, the Association of Community Development Finance Institutions for thirteen years where she contributed extensively for the growth of financial inclusion in urban and rural India across models, facilitated dialogue between different stakeholders-people, policy makers, service providers for better understanding of diverse models. She is a qualified Company Secretary and has also done her law from CCS University.
VP – State Initiatives ( Northern Region)
Jatinder is a financial inclusion professional with over twelve years of experience in retail banking, microfinance, public policy and agency banking within and outside of India. Previously he has worked as Business Manager in agribusiness verticals at State Bank of India and HDFC Bank Ltd. He was a Social Performance Analyst for South Asia & Eastern Europe at Microfinance Information Exchange Inc and worked in strategic alliances, techfin sales and agency banking roles at FINO Ltd. He has completed a Master's in Public Policy from India and is an alumnus of IIM Udaipur- Sanford School of Public Policy , Duke university, USA
Jatinder has been to the prestigious COADY International institute Canada to study community based microfinance and been to Frankfurt School of Finance and Management for a Summer School in MSME and Housing Finance. Additionally, Jatinder has completed PGP in Digital Money at The Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy at Tufts University, USA.
Jatinder is an ILA certified life coach and a NLP practitioner. He loves travelling and reading non-fiction books. He is an avid blogger and writer, his blog posts have been published on CGAP, IFMR and Next Billion platforms. A case study on Branchless Banking in India co-authored by him is listed on the Harvard Business School Publishing Centre.
VP West Bengal, Odisha and North East - State Initiatives
Habib is a finance expert with sixteen years of experience. Prior to MFIN, he was associated with Sa-Dhan (The Association of Community Development Finance Institutions) as a “Senior Executive-State coordinator”, responsible for the member services of North-East and Eastern region (viz. Assam, Manipur, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh).An MBA graduate from Bangalore University, he has also worked for seven years in the retail finance and 9 years in Microfinance. He has also been recognised as a “Smart Assessor” by the “Smart Campaign”.
AVP South – State Initiatives
Kamalesh has over twelve years of rich experience. Prior to MFIN, Kamalesh has worked with Sa-Dhan (The Association of Community Development Finance Institutions) as Regional Manager responsible for the member services of South region (Viz Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka).
He has completed an online course of Social Enterprise and Microfinance Experts from University of Libre de Bruxelles.
Kamalesh has pursued his MBA Finance from National Institute of Business Management, BA in Economics from Annamalai University and software engineering from Computer Maintenance Corporation.
AVP West – State Initiatives
Devendra is a seasoned management professional with 12 years of diverse experience. Prior to joining MFIN, he was associated with Fino Payments Bank and played instrumental role in product innovations and distribution of insurance products. He successfully led Microinsurance Innovation Project of International Labor Organization at Fino with multiple stakeholders; and also awarded with Best Innovative Business Initiative.He has also worked with Richcore Lifesciences, Span Outsourcing and Everonn Systems. He is an Engineering graduate with PGDBM in Marketing and Finance. He is a member of AIMA and Licentiate in Life and General Insurance from Insurance Institute of India.
AVP Bihar & Jharkhand – State Initiatives
Sanjay has over twenty one years of experience within microfinance and rural development industry. Prior to MFIN, he was associated with institutions like Sarvodaya Nano Finance Limited, Bhartiya Samruddhi Finance Ltd. and Indian Grameen Services – BASIX where he worked across 18 districts of Bihar & Jharkhand. He also worked as ‘National Resource Person – IB/CB’ for Madhya Pradesh Rural Livelihood Mission on behalf of NIRDPR, MoRD, Government of India. At BASIX he worked as an AVP & State Head in the states of Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh. He started his career with ASSEFA where he initiated the livelihood promotional activities through mobilization of Gram Sabha/ ULBs/ PRIs and Women Self Help Group.
He has worked with NGOs partners, MFIs, NBFCs, Community Based Microfinance Institutions and coordinated programme implementation.
He has the expertise of planning, implementation , management, partnerships development , policy advocating, monitoring and evaluation of large scale programmes.
AVP Central Region - State Initiatives
An astute & result oriented professional with 19 years of rich experience in strategic planning, business development, collection as well as team management within banking and financial sector. Prior to MFIN, he was associated with SRG Housing Finance as a “Head Collections”, responsible for Collections vertical of Rajashan,MP,Maharastra and Gujarat region . He has pursued his graduation from Barkatullah University.
Head – Communications
Bhavna is heading the Communications at MFIN. She has sixteen years’ experience in corporate communication. She was previously GM, Corporate Communications at Punj Lloyd, a USD 1.8 billion a global engineering and construction conglomerate where she led internal and external communication, stakeholder management, media relations, crisis management, events and reputation management. During her twelve years at Punj Lloyd, she was instrumental in scaling up the brand through acquisitions and new brand identity rollouts. She also worked in corporate communications for Anand Automotive Systems for four years. Bhavna is a postgraduate in Science from Maharaja Sayajirao University and a postgraduate in Business Administration from Symbiosis. She is an Alumni of the Swedish Institute Management Programme where she was certified for CSR and Sustainability.
AVP - Communication & Marketing
Bhumika, a marketing professional has an experience of over 11.8 years has worked on assignments related to brand strategy and communications. She has an experience of working within various capacities ranging from project management to communication and marketing strategist.
She has an expertise of handling traditional media which includes Media Planning, Integrated Media Properties, Advertising campaigns, Events & Experiential Activities, creating and executing branding activities and collaterals along with social media marketing.
Prior to MFIN she has worked with various Media & Advertising agencies including Edelman India, Dentsu Aegis India Network, Group M Media India. Bhumika has completed her Post Graduation in Mass Communication from Amity University and graduated from Symbiosis Society’s College of Arts and Commerce specialising in English Literature.
She had won a Bronze Award at Media Abby Awards (Goa Fest – 2012) for the campaign SBK (Fight against Diarrhoea)
AVP – Operations
Sharad has been working with MFIN since July 2016 and is responsible for looking after Finance, HR and Admin in MFIN. Prior to join MFIN, he has worked with Oxfam India, HIV / AIDS Alliance, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation and Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe). He has eighteen years of experience in financial management, grants management, statutory compliances, HR and admin. He holds MBA degree in Finance and has also done his law graduation.
Manager - Administration
Vijay is Manager - Administration. At MFIN, he undertakes Administration, travel and hospitality arrangements for the employees of the Secretariat and the Board Members in view of the Association’s operations pan India. He brings with him 13 years of experience in Customer Service, Operations and Business Management. Starting his career with Interglobe Technologies, Vijay worked with prestigious organizations like American Express, Kuoni Travel India and Yatra Online. Prior to joining MFIN, Vijay was working as Manager – Operations at FCM Travel Solutions.
Shantnu has an experience of five years in financial management, statutory compliances, and accounting practices. He also has an experience of managing administrative functions in the past both within corporate & social sector. Over the past five years, Shantanu has worked with LIFE (Livelihood Initiative of Empowerment), Tuli international Pvt Ltd & Sanjeev Bhargava & Associates prior to MFIN. He is handling the portfolios of Finance, Accounts, and Admin in MFIN. Shantanu is a CA intern & has pursued his M.Com from IGNOU, Delhi.
Mr. Sudarshan Sen
Former Executive Director at Reserve Bank of India
Mr. Sudarshan retired from the Reserve Bank of India as Executive Director in charge of regulation of banks and non-banking financial companies. In a career spanning over 36 years with the Reserve Bank, he worked in several areas, including banking regulation, bank supervision, fintech regulation, human resources, information technology, and currency management. He has been on several major national and international committees; he has served as the Reserve Bank’s nominee on the Supervision and Implementation Group and the Policy Development Group of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision and was a member of the Committees which drafted and subsequently reviewed India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code. He hasalso chaired the Inter-Regulatory Working Group on Fintech and the Working Group on Implementation of Ind AS by Banks,constituted by the Reserve Bank of India.
He holds a master’s degree in Mathematics from Delhi University and an MBA in International Banking and Finance from the University of Birmingham, UK.
Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala
Former Chairman, NABARD.
Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala is the Executive Chairman of Capital India Finance Limited, an India-focused, integrated financial services company since August 2020. Capital India is a listed company, categorized as a systemically important NBFC by RBI.
Dr. Bhanwala is also on the Board of Governors of Indian Institute of Management, Rohtak, a premier management institute of India.
Prior to joining Capital India Finance Limited, Dr Bhanwala was the Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), anApex Development Bank. Over these six and half years, under his stewardship, the assets of NABARD increased from USD 37 billion to USD 74 billion and the institution took significant steps to fulfil its mandate.
Dr. Bhanwala was also the Vice Chairman of Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA). He was on the Board of the Deposit Insurance & Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC), IRMA (Institute of Rural Management Anand) and the National Institute of Bank Management (NIBM), premier institutes of India. He also headed multiple subsidiaries of NABARD which target to reach the last mile through credit and advisory services.
Prior to joining NABARD, he was Executive Director and for a brief period Chairman cum Managing Director Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL). He pioneered the development of credit enhancement product for infrastructure finance, the first of its own kind in India.
He is a Postgraduate in Management from the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad and holds a Ph.D. in Management as well. He has been awarded honorary doctorate in Science by Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, and Indian Council of Agricultural Research-Central Institute of Fisheries Education (ICAR-CIFE), Mumbai.
SRO – the Genesis
Post-Andhra Pradesh crisis in 2010, a high-level committee, known as Malegam Committee, was formed by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to thoroughly examine the issues of the microfinance sector. Most of the recommendations of the Malegam Committee were accepted by the RBI by introducing a new category of NBFCs named NBFC-MFIs in Dec 2011, with detailed directions on a gamut of things including a definition of NBFC-MFIs through qualifying assets criterion, prudential norms, pricing of credit and customer protection measures such as pricing of credit, disclosures and multiple-lending and over-lending.
Recommendation of the Malegam Committee ‘for greater responsibility to be placed on industry associations for monitoring of regulatory compliance’ was adopted through a separate SRO guideline issued in November 2013 for recognition of industry associations as the Self-regulatory Organization’.
Accordingly, Master Directions for the NBFC-MFIs were revised to include SRO function, as under:
All NBFC-MFIs are encouraged to become member of at least one Self-Regulatory Organization (SRO) which is recognized by the Reserve Bank and will also have to comply with the Code of Conduct prescribed by the SRO.
The responsibility for compliance to all regulations prescribed for MFIs lies primarily with the NBFC-MFIs themselves. The industry associations/SROs will also play a key role in ensuring compliance with the regulatory framework.
In June 2014, MFIN became the first industry association to be accorded recognition as an SRO by the RBI.
Key Microfinance Highlights
Almost 99% microfinance loans in India are provided to women from low-income households
98% loans are provided through the Joint Liability Group (JLG) lending model wherein a group of customers, usually 5-10, individually come under JLG to take loans and agree to support and repay the loans if customers in the group face difficulty in making repayment. This group model brings efficiencies in operational costs and leverages social collateral towards underwriting and against the risks of defaults.
Microfinance loans are collateral free. Ticket sizes can be up to Rs 125,000, with average ticket sizes being around Rs 36,000.
Microfinance industry has a diverse supply-side with multiple lenders (nearly 171) including Banks, Small Finance Banks, NBFC-MFIs and NBFCs.
The industry has an outreach in almost 600 districts of India. In terms of geographic spread, 76% of the loan portfolio is rural and 24% urban.
Loans are primarily for income generating activities but are also taken for household expenses like education, health, and housing.
Except non-profit MFIs, all lenders are regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
Interest rate of NBFC-MFIs is regulated by the RBI. Overall interest rate charged to the customer range between 18%-24%.
Non-performing assets have remained under 1% over the years despite external shocks in recent past.
History of Microfinance
The history of microfinancing can be traced back as far as the middle of the 1800s, when the theorist Lysander Spooner was writing about the benefits of small credits to entrepreneurs and farmers as a way of getting the people out of poverty. Independently of Spooner, Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first cooperative lending banks to support farmers in rural Germany.
The modern use of the expression "microfinancing" has roots in the 1970s when Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, founded by microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus, was starting and shaping the modern industry of microfinancing. The approach of microfinance was institutionalized by Yunus in 1976, with the foundation of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh.
Microfinance in India
Like many other countries, modern micro-credit/microfinance industry in India started in 1990s inspired by the Grameen Model of Prof Mohammad Yunus in Bangladesh. Overtime, as this model evolved and became successful, it boosted the confidence of customers, MFIs and other stakeholders and started to scale-up.
From 2005-6, many non-profit MFIs converted into for-profit NBFCs and many new for-profit NBFCs also entered the micro-credit business, attracting private capital, commercialization, professionalism, and scale. This fueled growth, competition, scale with a sharp focus on specialization in delivering micro-credit efficiently and profitably. As a result, within 5 years, the micro-credit industry in India increased multi-fold to reach an outstanding of nearly Rs 20,000 Cr. However, this period also witnessed the challenges around customer-protection including over-leverage, inadequate disclosures, lack of customer awareness, high pricing as well as risks of geographic concentration, ghosts’ loans, local-level interferences and lack of regulations and oversight.
Recognizing this, Reserve Bank of India (Central Bank of India), introduced a new category of NBFCs called NBFC-MFIs in Dec 2011 with specific regulations for the micro-credit sector, focusing on customer protection. On the back of these regulations, the industry had a hugely successful decade.
Today, the micro-credit sector is diverse and competitive with over 100 regulated players – Banks, SFBs, NBFC-MFIs and NBFCs. A clear regulatory framework, a sound underlying business model, performance trends overtime, and potentially large un-met demand has attracted private capital to sustain the growth.
As a result, micro-credit in India is one of the most tightly regulated sectors in the world. It is also one of the largest micro-credit sectors globally, quite unmatched in terms of its outreach with low-ticket loans, scale, diversity of supply-side, spread, efficiency, performance, customer-protection standards, and contribution of the private sector.
To promote digitalisation in documentation, MFIN invited NeSL, India’s first Information Utility, registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under the aegis of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC)) for the first session of MFINTech Talks on Digital Document Execution (DDE) through E-Sign and E-Stamping services on the 14th May 2020. The webinar explained the importance of digital E-stamp procurement, instant authentication of loan disbursed in Information Utility, remote E-Sign using Aadhaar and OTP and how MFIs would benefit from the 65B certificate from NeSL. Most importantly, as NeSL is incorporated as a union government company, there is assurance of data safety and security.
Offline Aadhaar verification, CKYC, and Video Based borrower identification
Continuing MFIN’s engagement with NeSL, MFIN Series 2 on 16 June 2020 discussed Offline Aadhaar verification, plus other ID verification, CKYC, and Video Based borrower identification. NeSL is India’s first Information Utility, registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under the aegis of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (IBC) for various digital onboarding products.
Digital KYC and Payments
Digital KYC and Payments, Issues and Opportunities was the topic of the third series of MFINTech Talks on 30th June 2020. MFIs’ IT Heads including Mr Arun Kumar, CreditAccess Grameen, Mr. Arvind Murarka, Arohan Financial Services, Mr. Praveen Kumar, Adi Chitragupta Finance, Mr. Shiva Prakash, Samasta Micro Finance and Mr Umang Shah, Svatntra Microfin discussed Digital onboarding and KYC (CKYCR, E-Sign, Video KYC, RPA, OCR etc), Digital Payment (Aadhaar Pay, UPI, NACH, QR Code, BC based CMS, Card based payment, BBPS etc) and issues and opportunities in these tools and processes.
Underwriting a Micro Finance loan
MFINTech Talk held on 24 July 2020 discussed the importance of data in underwriting a Micro Finance loan. Piyush Singh, AVP – Fintech and Projects, MFIN, moderated the session which had eminent speakers like Monish Salot - Chief Product Officer & Co Founder, Think Analytics, Partha Sen Gupta - CEO and Director, Taraashna Financial Services, Rahul Kotabage - DVP, Business Intelligence and Analytics, Suryoday SFB, Sasidhar Thumuluri - MD & CEO, Sub-K IMPACT Solutions, Sunil Agithakaliya - Senior Vice President, CRIF Highmark and Vipul Sekhsaria - Chief Networks Officer of Kaleidofin. An absorbing discussion bringing forth diverse perspectives ranging from that of a credit bureau to those in the lending or non-lending space.
NBFC - Account Aggregator (AA)
MFINTech Talk on 30 July 2020 with Mr. Srikanth Rajagopalan, CEO at Perfios Account Aggregation Services, centred around the theme “NBFC - Account Aggregator, what does it mean for Microfinance Industry”. Perfios is one of the few organisations which have got NBFC- Account Aggregator license from RBI. The talk involved a presentation on Personal Data Protection Bill (main points, stakeholders, importance, business model, impact etc), impact of AA on business models, importance of consent and how to capture it through AA model, penalties and implications of non-adherence, among others.
LMS and LOS Service Providers
September 2020 saw MFINTech Talk series discuss “LMS and LOS Service Providers - Expectations and Innovations” where the panel comprised three MFI and three service providers. The panellists included Linjin, IT Head, Chaitanya, Naveen Mangle - IT Head, Fusion, Nalini Katagihallimath -Strategy Head, Samasta, representing the MFIs and Nayan Ambali - Co-Founder, FinFlux, SRN Ramachandra Raju - Alliance head, Jayam and Vinish Shah - Strategy Head, Craft Silicon. Discussions steered around the MFIs’ expectations from LOS and LMS service providers, topics of scalability, stability and availability, what more could be done in security and Innovation besides debating on the new features and technologies like churn analysis, automatic credit decisions etc.
Enforcement Committee (EC)
The Enforcement Committee (EC) primarily handles issues of non-compliances and grievances arising from customers requiring redressal. EC members are as under :
Mr. Arnab Roy (Chair)
Independent Member, Former Principal CGM and Regional Director - Reserve Bank of India
Ms. Veena Mankar
Independent Member, Founder and Chairperson - Swadhaar FinAccess
Mr. Haresh Kulshrestha
Independent Member, Former CGM - Reserve Bank of India
Mr Anujeet Varadkar
Industry Member, CEO - Svatantra Microfin Pvt Ltd.