November 21, 2017

District Overview

Banke is one of the five districts within Bheri Zone and lies in Province 5 of Nepal. Nepalgunj is the district headquarter and the regional hub of the Mid-Western Region. Covering an area of 2337 sq. km, the district is divided into 46 VDCs and one Municipality. It has 94,773 households with a total population of 491,313 (Male 244,255 & Female 247,058)[1].

 Economic and Financial Landscape

Agriculture (including livestock/ poultry), riverbed farming, cottage industries, business and trading are the main economic activities of the district.[2]  Among the registered small and cottage industries, majority work in the production sector, followed by the service sector, indicating production and service are the two major areas of employment in Banke.

The district is served by 67 different branches of ‘A’ Class Commercial Banks, 32 different branches of ‘B’ Class Development Banks, and 5 different branches of ‘C’ Class Finance Companies. The population served per branch is 5,462 against the national average of 8,960[3]. This indicates the need to further expand the outreach of financial services and facilities to the unbanked population of the area.

 GESI Issues

Banke’s total population comprises of about 18.9% Muslim, 15.65% Tharu, 14.76% Chhetris followed by others, in terms of caste and ethnicity[4].  Muslim religious groups, Yadav, Tharu and other Hill and Terai Dalits are the key disadvantaged groups in Banke. Many Muslim girls are not sent to schools that do not respect religious principles. Lack of educational opportunities results in a subsequent lack of employment opportunities, directly affecting their future economic independence. Domestic violence is quite common and is often linked with alcohol consumption. Women are less involved in economic activities than men and are mostly confined to domestic work and farming. They are also deprived of credit facilities.

A key aim of Sakchyam in Banke is to increase financial access and promote value chain financing that could help to generate local employment opportunities, especially for the Muslim and Tharu communities which would ultimately help to minimize gender and caste based discrimination in the area.

Sakchyam’s Ongoing Interventions

Value Chain Financing Innovations

  • Wholesale Loan to Dairy Cooperatives, in the Dairy Value Chain has been launched in partnership with NMB Bank in the district.
  • Prabhu Bank has partnered with ‘Bheri Cold Storage’ to implement ‘Warehouse Receipt financing’ scheme targeting the farmers/traders associated with the cold storage.

Delivery Channel Innovations

  • The programme has been able to reach the unbanked population of the district through the launch of three BLB Touch Points in partnership with Everest Bank, two BLBs in partnership with NIBL and one with Janata Bank.
  • NUBL and UNYC have also introduced tablet banking in the district by distributing nine and four tablets respectively.
  • Chhimek Bikash Bank has established four Digital Points and have also provided tablets in the district.

Outreach Expansion

  • To increase financial access for rural poor, one branch of RMDC, one branch of UNYC and one branch of VLBS has been established in the district.

Financial Literacy Initiatives

  • Various programmes on financial literacy are being introduced through conventional channels as well as alternate delivery channels such as Tablets and mobile phones. These programmes have been launched in partnership with NUBL, RMDC, UNYC and VLBS.
  • NUBL is conducting financial literacy campaigns in the district through Centre Meeting Modules and videos.
  • UNYC is conducting financial literacy campaigns through IVR, PFT, Centre Meeting Modules and FM Radio.
  • VLBS is conducting financial literacy campaigns through PGT and Centre Meeting Modules.
  • Chhimek Bikash Bank is conducting financial literacy campaigns through PGT, Centre Meeting Modules and videos.
  • Nerude is using flip charts, videos and financial literacy buzz in to promote financial literacy to their clients and potential clients.

Product Development

  • Business Loan Product and Ujyalo Loan Product have been designed and implemented in the district in partnership with UNYC. The products are replicated and launched in 36 other branches of UNYC including in Banke.

Other Support

The programme is supporting Machhapuchhre Bank and Sanima Bank to deploy Dedicated ARMs to increase financial services to the rural poor.

[1] National Population Census (2011) [2] National Sample Census of Agriculture (2011-2012) [3] Nepal Rastra Bank (July 2018)[4] National Population Census (2011)

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