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.

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