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IBM in micro-finance in India

Thursday 15 March 2007

This system is implemented at Bangalore-based Janalakshmi Social Services, an urban micro-finance institution, which caters to around 40 000 families. Thanks to this card, traders will be able to participate in fruit and vegetable auctions, without having to carry cash or resort to expensive loans from moneylenders. The smart cards will also serve as proof of identity and electronic passbook for customers.

"The microfinance sector has seen a tremendous upsurge in recent time. There is a huge potential in this domain & we see ourselves branching out to serve many more unbanked geographies through our association with MFIs" said Mr. Manish Khera, CEO, FINO.

FINO is a Mumbai based systems integrator delivering its services to Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) and Non Government Organizations (NGOs) supporting access to basic financial services. In India, 60 to 80 per cent of enterprises and individuals lack access even to basic financial services such as savings and credit and, insurance services. The unbanked population is estimated at 500 million people.

Micro finance is a financial innovation, which originated in developing countries where it has successfully enabled poor and generally unbanked people (mostly women) to engage in projects that allow them to generate an income and, in many cases, begin to build wealth and exit poverty. The World Bank estimates that there are now more than 7,000 microfinance institutions, and that 500 million households benefit from these small loans, out of a total of three billion poor people on Earth. Micro finance is supported by the United Nations, and Dr. Muhammad Yunus, one of the most well known promoters of Micro Credit and founder of the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006.