Lack of financial linkages with small scale farmers, value chain actors of different agriculture businesses, small scale enterprises and entrepreneurs is a major hurdle for the development of rural Nepal. To address these challenges, Sanima Bank is introducing financial products and services that are most appropriate and suitable for the underbanked/unbanked, deprived and marginalized people in these communities. The primary project objective is to cater to the financial needs of households and individuals in semi-urban and rural areas from existing and new Sanima Bank touchpoints.
Nepal’s rural population has very limited access to formal Financial Service Providers (FSP), especially to commercial banks which have traditionally targeted urban customer bases. Even when FSPs are present, they lack products and services that cater to these unique needs. Community-based organisations like cooperatives are the primary financial service providers in such a scenario. However, due to their limited capacity and individual ticket size of the loans, the number of customers served by cooperatives remains small. But FSPs like commercial banks do not provide small ticket loans – less than NPR 1 Million.
A graduating customer of a cooperative or a new customer whose financial needs falls in between the largest and smallest loan value provided by these two types of FSPs, called the ‘Missing Middle’, has limited options. As a result, many such customers end up borrowing from more than one institution. This results in an increase in the customer’s cost, and increases the possibility of over indebtedness. To cater to the needs of this ‘Missing Middle’, Sanima Bank and UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance programme have partnered to develop financial products with simplified terms and procedures.
Sakchyam’s support to Sanima Bank will help open a physical branch in Kalikot district which is one of the most financially underserved districts in Nepal. The bank will also deploy 21 staff dedicated to work for the deprived sector through select branches, to meet potential targets in existing and newly established branches. Through the partnership, the bank will cater to the needs of people who are not traditionally targeted by commercial banks, especially the Missing Middle segment, as the demand for micro, agriculture loan and SME loan is high in the intervention districts.
Sanima bank will provide loans and savings products along with other banking services to the target beneficiaries through its existing 17 branches, covering 13 districts – Jhapa, Dhading, Chitwan, Sunsari, Banke, Sankhuwasabha, Rupandehi, Makwanpur, Kailali, Dang, Surkhet, Kanchanpur and Kalikot. It will also be providing NPR 1,013 million in loans to 3,436 borrowers over 3 years of the project duration under direct Deprived Sector Lending through 6 different rural-centric loan products.
Latest Update on Sakchyam-Sanima Bank Partnership
As of September 2017, Sanima Bank have,