At March 31, 2020, the Bank provided loans to 30 MFIs which facilitated credit to about nine lakh individuals.
Addressing the financial needs of people working at the grassroots level in the rural economy has been a focus area for the Bank. The Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme (SBLP) was launched to promote entrepreneurship among underprivileged rural women and to help them in earning sustainable livelihoods. Self Help Groups (SHGs) are homogenous groups of 10-20 individuals who come together for engaging in livelihood activities, pooling savings and supporting each other in times of need.
Through our SBLP, we provide a comprehensive suite of banking products, including zero-balance savings account and unsecured term loans for meeting the business requirements of the SHG members. We supplement our efforts by providing skill development training to the SHG members under the aegis of ICICI Foundation Rural Livelihood Programme.
The Bank also organises financial literacy camps and sets up dedicated service desks at select branches to guide the SHG members on banking procedures. Our concerted efforts have ensured a gradual rise in women-led entrepreneurial ventures in the areas where we operate. We have helped them to realise their dream of becoming financially independent.
Till March 31, 2020, the Bank had provided loans to over 70 lakh women beneficiaries through more than 5.4 lakh SHGs.
In addition to SHGs, ICICI Bank also lends to Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) which are semi-formal groups from the weaker sections of society. To complement our direct lending efforts, the Bank has also tied up with over 530 non-government organisations called Self Help Promoting Institutions (SHPIs). These SHPIs are empanelled as Business Correspondents and work towards delivering credit and other banking products in rural areas.
ICICI Bank has created a host of specific and customised banking solutions to address the micro-lending ecosystem. This ecosystem includes underprivileged women, non-government organisations and other institutions working at the grassroots level in the rural economy.
At ICICI Bank, we also partner with Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) by extending them term loans to further our reach. MFIs are micro-lending organisations that work at the grassroots level and serve as a crucial delivery channel for reaching out to otherwise under-served people. They function not only as on-lending platforms for individuals and smaller SHGs and JLGs, but also catalyse rural banking by acting as Business Correspondents thereby enabling financial inclusion at the bottom of the pyramid.