World Bank’s investment arm International Finance Corporation (IFC) has proposed to invest $40 million (approximately Rs 260 crore) into Ujjivan Financial Services, one of the leading microfinance institutions in India.
Ujjivan Financial is among the 10 recipients of small finance bank (SFB) licences from the Reserve Bank of India.
With a borrower base of more than 2.5 million and a loan portfolio of approximately Rs 4,100 crore ($620 million equivalent) as of September 2015, Ujjivan is among few large MFIs that focus on providing micro loans to women borrowers in urban and semi-urban areas.
IFC’s proposed investment will help the company expand the outreach of access to low-income borrowers, who have little or no access to formal sources of financing, and strengthening its balance sheet through availability of long tenure debt during the transformation phase, according to IFC sources.
Ujjivan is listed on the National Stock Exchange and the BSE. Its key shareholders include CX Partners, NewQuest, CDC, Bajaj, Sequoia and Caspian.
Ujjivan operates through 469 branches in 24 states and Union Territories. It operates in urban and semi-urban areas and has close to 3,800 employees.
Its target customers include self-employed women working as vegetable or fruit vendors, small shop owners, sari sellers, tailors, salaried women working in garment factories, hospitals, cooks, house maids and piece rate workers involved in incense stick rolling and tailoring.
Ujjivan has over the years established itself as one of the customer-centric institutions with a strong emphasis on responsible lending and good HR practices.
Ujjivan was founded by Samit Ghosh, who has been an international banker for over 30 years and was part of the pioneering team which launched consumer banking in India at Citibank in 1985.
He led the launch of retail banking for Standard Chartered in the West Asia and South Asia and for HDFC Bank in India. His last assignment before starting Ujjivan was as chief executive of Bank of Muscat.