The southern belt of Nepal’s mid- and far-western regions is home to stretches of farmland that turn golden come harvest time, yielding enough to feed the farmers, their families, and leaving plenty to sell. However, severely affected by the lack of access to financial products and services while vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquake and floods; their lifestyles are facing new challenges.
Lack of access to finance for the region’s farmers has far-reaching consequences. Prices of crops are at their lowest immediately after the harvest season. With high-interest loans taken from informal money lenders, little to zero financial literacy and no proper way to store their crops, farmers are forced to sell their produce for a bargain. Unable to earn tidy profits, such trends have ripple effects – affecting factors like the region’s health and education levels. It has also driven hundreds of farmers to pursue migrant labour jobs.
With Global IME Bank Limited’s (GIBL) innovative Sakchyam Banking Solution through Branchless Banking (BLB) and Extension Counters Facility, the idea was to provide financial access to rural communities that are deprived of financial services by expanding the outreach of the bank through alternative delivery channels – BLB service point and extension counter facilities. Such innovation would help include more people from this region and bring them into the larger financial system.
Due to Sakchyam’s intervention, locals of the area had access to financial products and services and also enjoyed better prices for their products. Till December 2017, the bank has collected deposits totalling NPR 1.6 million and has reached 389 customers with this product.