Friday, February 22, 2008

Interview with Vikram Akula, SKS Microfinance

There is an interview with Vikram Akula in Business Standard, dated 22nd February 2008. I cannot however locate the online URL to provide a link here. I will mention just the key points here.

On his model being a replica of Grameen Bank: Yes, it is, except for the difference that SKS works on for-profit and expects to make a profit. Yunus' Grameen model talks of no-profit, no-loss.

On the interest rate being high: SKS charges on an average 26% diminishing interest. This breaks into 11% their own borrowing cost, 9% staff costs, 3% amenities and office costs, 2% loan-loss provision, between 1-2% profit.Wherever they have reached size, they have reduced the interest rates - for example in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to 24%. Their eventual goal is to reduce this to 21% if further efficiencies are achieved.

FMCG: In addition to offering loans, they are negotiating with FMCG product companies to offer FMCG goods at cheaper prices to their existing loan customers. Current customer base of SKS is around 1.7 million people. Targeted by March 2008 - 2 million, and by March 2009 - 4 million.

Investment in Gold: SKS is offering fixed price gold coins, which can be paid for by a weekly investment of Rs. 10-15. Once the investment is complete, the investor gets a certificate for the weight of gold, at market price, which can be traded any time for the current market price of gold.

Education: SKS is teaming up with education provider and infrastructure provider to set up schools. SKS will finance the families. Infrastructure provider will set up school buildings. Education provider will provide the teaching. The cost of the education is expected to be Rs. 250 per child per month (which will be borrowed from SKS and paid to the providers). They expect to start with 20-30 schools in May 2008, and extend this to over 300 schools.

SKS Microfinance gets third round of investment

US based Silicon Valley Bank and Columbia Pacific have together invested Rs. 147 crore (around US$ 36.75 million) in SKS Microfinance in December 2007. In the earlier round of investment made in October 2007, a clutch of investors, including Sequoia Capital, Unitus Equity Fund and Vinod Khosla had invested Rs. 50 crore (US$ 12.5 million).

The Economic Times article

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Micro - housing loans

This is not a new concept, but only now coming to India. National Housing Bank (NHB) and Chennai based Repco Foundation for Micro Credit (owned by Repco Bank, owned by Government of India), are disbursing micro home loans in five districts of Tamil Nadu. The loans range form Rs 25,000 to Rs 2 lakh. This is not for buying land, but only construction loans for those people who already own the land. Obviously, over the coming days, the model will change to include buying land as well.

News from Economic Times