IFC Supports Utkarsh to Expand Microfinance Reach in Low-Income States of India
IFC is helping start-up microfinance institution Utkarsh to grow its operations, primarily in the low-income states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, to increase access to finance and microfinance services in relatively under-served areas.
Indian microfinance institutions have grown in recent years, but have had limited reach in the northern and eastern parts of the country. The range of products also tends to be limited to simple credit offerings. With IFC’s support, Utkarsh is working to diversify its products, develop sound internal systems and processes, and introduce a system of social audit. The company aims to reach an estimated 250,000 women borrowers by June 2013.
“We work intensively in the low-income states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, which are high priority areas for the government of India,” said Govind Singh, Managing Director and CEO, Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Limited. “With IFC’s support we expect to expand significantly into areas where the need for microfinance is highest.”
The project initially will focus on Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, India’s most populous states. IFC supported Utkarsh in its start-up phase by providing both investment and advisory services. IFC initiated work in responsible finance to support long-term sustainable growth of the Indian microfinance sector, and to refocus its efforts towards a customer-centered approach.
“We are helping Utkarsh strengthen internal systems and develop operational tools that can help them reach more clients in a sustainable manner,” said Jennifer Isern, who leads IFC’s Access to Finance work in South Asia. “This project also aligns with our strategy of supporting growth and expansion to provide access to financial services among India’s low-income segment.”
Utkarsh Micro Finance Private Limited is an Indian non banking finance company headquartered in Varanasi, in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It provides financial and non financial services to unbanked and under-served low income communities in need of financing. In spite of the difficulty faced by the microfinance sector in India, Utkarsh has registered constant growth and attracted new investments.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—