Beyond “One Size Fits All "Financial Services
Microfinance in India traditionally involves providing small loans to a group of women who are required to cross-guarantee each other, and to attend weekly group meetings to make cash repayments. Although group-based lending can be a useful way to introduce clients to borrowing and using loans to grow a small business or meet other needs, over time, customers may come to chafe against the rigid methodology. Svasti, MetLife Foundation’s partner in Mumbai (Maharashtra), aims to upgrade the microfinance experience by focusing on individual customers’ needs and providing a one-stop shop for a wide range of products to help them lead a healthy financial life. MetLife Foundation is supporting Svasti, a credit-only institution, as they develop the technology to seamlessly connect with banks, enabling Svasti’s loan clients to open and use their bank-held savings accounts. The Svasti expansion will also let clients make bill payments and send remittances to distant family members. Svasti aims to enable more than 50,000 low-income customers to use their new bank accounts effectively, build their assets, and avoid the serious financial risks associated with storing cash at home.