RETAIL BANKING AND BRANCHLESS BANKING IN MANANG, RUKUM AND ACHHAM
Most rural areas of Nepal have small populations scattered over VDCs that are difficult to reach. The absence of financial institutions in those areas has led to people in the area deprived of formal access to finance. Also, the geographic landscape of these areas which is quite challenging further provides challenges to the local population of the area. Most of the population in such area are dependent upon agriculture and most of the youth work abroad as migrant labour.
Low presence of formal financial institution has had a negative impact on the daily lives of the local population. The population has to rely on informal money lenders or local financial institutions which charge high interest rate and charges. Also, these rural populations usually lack financial literacy and are therefore unable to make balanced financial decisions.
With UKaid Sakchyam Access to Finance’s (Sakchyam’s) support, Prabhu Bank has established a total of 3 new branches at Chame of Manang Distict, Rukumkot of Rukum and Kamalbazar of Achham district. Prabhu Bank has also launched BLB points in these three districts. By leveraging its experience of working with bottom of the pyramid, the Bank has ensured the people living in remote locations have access to funds, especially to invest in productive areas such as agriculture sector and low cost housing.
The new bank branches and BLBs cater to the numerous banking needs of the local population. The local women entrepreneurs and farmers also now have access to a number of segment-specific financial products that the bank offers. Agro business firms, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are able to benefit from existing and new financial products that has been designed to meet specific and seasonal needs. General households also have a trusted financial institution to receive and route their remittance, along with having various saving options.
As of March 2019, Prabhu Bank has established 3 physical branches and 12 BLB touchpoints. They have reached over 8,300 customers through financial services and disbursed NPR 39.2 million in loans and collected over NPR 148.9 million in deposits.