Most rural and semi-urban areas in the mid and far-western districts of Nepal have small populations scattered over VDCs that are difficult to reach. The economic landscape of these areas is quite basic – markets consist of small retail outlets and eateries. Most of the youth work abroad as migrant labour. The main source of income is either agriculture or remittance. Electrical power is not a given and presence of financial institutions is limited to district headquarters.
Due to the low footprint of formal financial institutions, especially commercial banks, local people have to rely on informal money lenders or local financial institutions, which might charge larger fees and have limited financial capacities. Members of these rural populations also usually lack strong financial literacy to make balanced financial decisions to improve their livelihoods.
With Sakchyam’s support, Bank of Kathmandu Ltd. (BOK) will establish a total of 6 new branches in Belauri of Kanchanpur, Bhaluwang of Dang, Bijuwar of Pyuthan, Devdaha of Rupandehi, Lamki of Kailali and Rajapur of Bardia district. Most of these locations are recently upgraded municipalities with huge potential to develop as commercial hubs. BOK will also leverage its experience of working with local FIs, cooperatives and will ensure the people living in remote locations have access to funds especially to invest in productive areas such as livestock farming, vegetable farming and small-scale entrepreneurships through such FIs/cooperatives.
The new bank branches will cater to the numerous banking needs of the local population – a majority of whom belong to the Tharu and other Disadvantaged Groups. Women and farmers will have access to a number of segment-specific financial products that the bank will offer; agro business firms, SMEs and MSMEs will be able to benefit from existing and new financial products that will be designed to meet specific and seasonal needs; general households will have a trusted financial institution to receive and route their remittance, along with having various saving options. Through the partnership, BoK will disburse over NPR 1 billion in loans and bring in more than 15,000 small deposit account holders into the formal financial system.
Latest Updates on Sakchyam – BoK Partnership
As of September 2017, BoK has,