ESAF is among the 10 financial service firms selected by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for setting up small finance banks.
“ ESAF Group of Social Enterprises, explained the role the organisation had played as a social and inclusive financial institution in the past 25 years,” said K. Paul Thomas, founder & executive director and chairman of ESAF.
Reportedly, the organisation would launch scholarship programmes to academically skilled schoolchildren of forum members and institute an annual event to honour the best women entrepreneurs of the ESAF.
“The success of ESAF was the outcome of the social business model, which addressed social issues with business strategies,” he said.
By developing appropriate products and services and by pioneering door-to-door services, ESAF Micro-finance gradually went on to become one of the top 10 micro finance institutions (MFIs) in India. In November 2016, the organisation got the final nod from the RBI to launch a small finance bank.
The bank will give loans for farming, small businesses, housing and education. It will also have a spectrum of deposit options for all customers, including Non-Resident Indians (NRIs).
The company is expected to start operations with a network of around 85 retail branches and 300 plus customer touch points, which would be opened through the year.
“Women empowerment is another core area ESAF has been focussing on since its birth,” said Thomas.