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FAQs


Why do MFIs charge such high interest rates?
What is Swadhaar FinAccess?
What is the relationship between Swadhaar FinServe and Swadhaar FinAccess?
Who are Swadhaar’s target customers?
What is Swadhaar’s lending methodology?
In what ways is Swadhaar client-focused?
Does Swadhaar accept volunteers?
Does Swadhaar accept donations?


Why do MFIs charge such high interest rates?
For a comprehensive answer to this question, please visit the website of the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP), which provides an explanation of MFI interest rates at the following link.

http://www.cgap.org/p/site/c/template.rc/1.26.1309/

 
What is Swadhaar FinAccess?
Swadhaar FinAccess (SFA) is a non-profit company that engages in credit-plus activities for urban poor women in India. Headquartered in Mumbai, SFA began its operations in March 2006 by offering micro loans to the urban poor. In May 2008, Swadhaar FinServe Pvt. Ltd., a Non-Banking Finance Company established by the promoters of SFA, received its license from the Reserve Bank of India. SFA subsequently transferred its lending portfolio to Swadhaar FinServe in September 2008 and has since discontinued its microcredit operations. The organisation now focuses on the Financial Education Program (FEP) for working and non-working women in urban, low-income communities, which consists of training on basic financial management skills such as budgeting, saving, insurance and debt management. In addition, SFA offers insurance and savings facilitation under the Business Correspondent model. Its programs are available to both Swadhaar FinServe clients and other women in low-income communities. 
SFA’s mission is to assist the urban poor, especially women, to enhance their economic capacity by providing financial education and training, and facilitate access to financial services such as savings, insurance and loans, that will enable them to cross the poverty line and meet aspirations for a better future.

For more visit about Swadhaar FinAccess, please visit www.swadhaar.org.
 
What is the relationship between Swadhaar FinServe and Swadhaar FinAccess?
Swadhaar FinServe (SFPL) and Swadhaar FinAccess (SFA) comprise two independent entities. SFA is a section-25 company that focuses on credit-plus programs, including insurance, savings facilitation and financial education, while SFPL is a Non-Banking Finance Company engaging in urban microfinance. Though SFPL and SFA operate independently, the organisations employ complementary strategies for financially empowering their clients. SFPL’s microfinance clients can avail of SFA’s credit-plus products and services, and SFA’s clients may take a loan from SFPL. By addressing diverse aspects of financial inclusion, SFA and SFPL seek to work in partnership and improve the economic capacity of India’s urban poor.
 
Who are Swadhaar’s target customers?
Swadhaar’s target customers are both men and women who reside in an urban or semi-urban area and have limited or no access to services from the formal financial sector. While Swadhaar’s clientele includes individuals who fall within the per capita income range of under $2 a day, Swadhaar also works with those whose income exceeds the international poverty line estimates but who nonetheless remain economically vulnerable and excluded from formal credit, saving and insurance services. Swadhaar’s clients engage in a range of non-agricultural occupations, usually in the informal economy. While some work as micro-entrepreneurs, running businesses including food stalls, small general stores and tailoring services, others are salaried workers, such as domestic cooks or maids. Some clients also work on a commission-basis, distributing a corporation’s products or making imitation jewelry.
 
What is Swadhaar’s lending methodology?
Swadhaar’s lending methodology reflects its client-centric approach to microfinance.  Swadhaar uses a capacity-based lending methodology to determine whether and what amount to lend to a prospective client. Capacity-based lending consists of a two-part evaluation that examines both the client’s willingness to repay and his/her financially capacity to service a loan. The underwriting decision is ultimately determined by both the analysis of a client’s willingness to repay and an assessment of his/her household and business cash flows. This methodology yields insight into a given client’s repayment ability, as well as how best to structure his/her loan. Ensuring that a client is both willing and able to service a loan reduces the risk of inadvertently over-indebting him/her.
 
In what ways is Swadhaar client-focused?
Providing clients with convenient products and services remains one of Swadhaar’s primary objectives. Its target clients, the urban poor, are not only diverse in their incomes and needs, but are also financially savvy and well-informed regarding the variety of services available through financial institutions. Adequately addressing their needs requires greater product variations as well as a flexible, individualised approach. Since launching operations, Swadhaar has tailored its products and policies to accommodate the evolving and varied needs of its clientele. Examples of Swadhaar’s client-centric approach to product design and delivery include – 
  • Disbursing loans within 5 days of receiving an application
  • Minimizing clients’ paperwork requirements
  • Allowing foreclosure of loans and prepayment of monthly installments
  • Offering flexibility in terms of loan sizes, based on the client’s individual capacity to repay
  • Conducting monthly (instead of weekly) collections to better suit the cash flows of urban micro-entrepreneurs
  • Accommodating clients’ unpredictable and busy schedules by providing doorstep collection service
  • Allowing small joint liability group sizes (3-7 women), to increase the comfort of city-dwellers who tend to have less familiarity with their neighbors
  • Providing various channels though which clients may submit feedback and voice grievances. Swadhaar’s customer service policy actively solicits feedback and encourages clients to volunteer their thoughts or complaints at any time through such mechanisms as our customer service phone number.

Swadhaar values constant innovation and continually strives to improve upon its products and services in an effort to more effectively meet its clients’ needs.

 
Does Swadhaar accept volunteers?
Swadhaar does not have a dedicated volunteer or internship program. In general, Swadhaar prefers to take on individuals for a longer period of time, so the experience can be mutually beneficial to both the organisation and the candidate. Please visit our Get Involved page for information on the Swadhaar Associate Program (SAP), which places individuals within the Company for a period of 6-12 months.
 
Does Swadhaar accept donations?
As a Non-Banking Finance Company, Swadhaar FinServe is unable to accept donations. However, if you are interested in donating to Swadhaar FinAccess (SFA), a section-25 non-profit company focused on credit-plus products and services, please visit www.swadhaar.org.

For more information on microfinance in India and elsewhere in the world, please refer to the following online resources.

Microfinance in India:
www.sa-dhan.net
Sa-dhan is a network of MFIs and community development organisations that seeks to build the field of community development finance in India.

www.microsave.org
Microsave is a technical assistance, training and technical resource centre for microfinance organisations.

www.microfinancefocus.com
Microfinance Focus is an online knowledge platform about microfinance and sustainable development.

www.microfinanceindia.org
Microfinance India is a national advocacy platform that seeks to initiate dialogue on the microfinance sector.

www.indiamicrofinance.com
Indiamicrofinance.com publishes specialised news and information on India’s microfinance sector.

Microfinance in general:                                                        
www.microfinancegateway.com
The Microfinance Gateway is an online resource for the global microfinance community, featuring research, publications and industry news.

www.seepnetwork.org
The SEEP Network connects microenterprise practitioners from around the world to develop practical guidance and tools.

www.mixmarket.org
The Microfinance Information Exchange (MIX) is a business information provider dedicated to strengthening the microfinance sector.

www.cgap.org
CGAP, housed at the World Bank, is an independent policy and research organisation dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor.

 
 
Copyright February 2011 Swadhaar Finserve Pvt. Ltd.                CIN: U65990MH2007PTC175181