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Ujjivan microfinance turns into small finance bank

Originally appeared in on February 6, 2017

Leading microfinance firm Ujjivan Financial Services Ltd on Monday announced commencing its operations as a Small Finance Bank here.

Bangladeshi Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, who was the chief guest on the occasion, unveiled five pilot branches of the bank across the city to provide full service offerings.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued license to Ujjivan in mid-November to set up the Small Finance Bank business.

“We plan to extend the banking services to our 457 branches in 24 states across the country in a phased manner over the next few months,” Ujjivan Chief Executive Samit Ghosh told reporters here.

The 12-year-old non-banking finance company has set a target to become a mass retail bank in the next five years.

“We started our journey as an NBFC in 2005 with a mission to empower the economically low income groups by providing them with a range of financial services, which the SFB platform enables us to do so,” said Ghosh.

The bank will offer a no minimum balance savings bank account with full range services and benefits to the unserved and underserved customers.

“We will provide a whole host of benefits such as door-step and paperless banking, mobile, internet and phone banking, access to biometric ATMs and Aadhar enabled debit cards, although commercial banks offer them only to their premier customers,” said Ghosh.

The bank’s deposit and savings products have been customised for financial inclusion of the segments it aims to serve.

“We offer 5.5-8 per cent interest rates on fixed deposits and recurring deposits, which are higher than the average interest rate most banks offer,” said Ghosh.

The savings bank account will have benefits such as biometric ATMs, RuPay debit card, phone, internet and mobile banking at 4 per cent market rate interest.

“Our 3.5-million customer base reiterates our success and validates our approach to serve un-served and underserved across the country,” added Ghosh.

The bank’s customers will have unlimited access to ATM transactions on its network and six free transactions on other bank’s ATM networks, making it one of the highest free transactions offered by any bank.