Myanmar seeks Bandhans expertise on MFIs

Written by Mithun Dasgupta | Kolkata | Updated: Aug 3 2013, 06:57am hrs
Bandhan Financial Services, Indias largest microfinance institution (MFI), said the Myanmar government has sought technical expertise to develop microfinance industry.

An MFI team has already visited Myanmar. A new offer has come from Myanmar. The Myanmar government has urged us to provide technical support in developing the microfinance industry. It has also urged us to start our operations. Indian Embassy in Myanmar is also interested in it, Bandhan Financial Services chairman and managing director Chandra Shekhar Ghosh told FE.

We feel there is a need for microfinance institutions in that country. And the government likes to develop the industry there because until the system as well as the model are not developed, bankers would not come to invest, Ghosh said.

At present a few small MFIs are operating in the neighbouring country. The Kolkata-based MFI, which has recently applied to RBI for a full-fledged banking licence, said it would explore the possibility of commencing its own microfinance operations in Myanmar once that industry develops in the country.

We would like to explore itfirstly we will give them technical support for developing the microfinance industry there and then if we see that there is a good opportunity, we will go for different plan, Ghosh said.

The leading MFI is also providing technical assistance to some institutions of Indonesia following a tie-up with MBK. Discussions are still on with MBK, an MFI, to form a joint-venture.

There has been a little bit delay on the agreement (for the proposed jv). Our team has visited Indonesia and discussions are on, Ghosh added.

Bandhan currently has footprints in Indias 18 states and UTs after 12 years of operation and about 80% of its total branches are in rural areas. At present, its loan book stood at Rs 4,500 crore and it would like to increase it to Rs 6,000 crore by this fiscal end.