SKS Microfinance to bring low-cost handsets

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New Delhi, Jun 15: SKS Microfinance Pvt Ltd, the country's largest microfinance institution, has said it plans to provide low-cost mobile handsets to its customers in collaboration with Nokia and Airtel. ''The memorandum of understanding(MoU) will be signed to this effect soon,'' SKS Microfinance Founder and CEO Vikram Akula said here.

The non-bank financial company has about 1.9 million customers across the country. ''About 15 per cent of the our customers are already having mobile handsets. We expect the remaining 85 per cent are expected to go for these cheap mobiles,'' SKS Chief Operating Officer M R Rao said. The company aims to add 2.3 million customers across the country in this fiscal with disbursement of about Rs 5,500 crore loan. ''We target to add 2.3 million customers in this fiscal, taking the total customer base to four million by the end of this fiscal.

With disbursement of about Rs 5,500 crore in this fiscal, the total loan amount extended to the customers will touch about Rs 8,800 crore,'' Mr Akula said.

The company has disbursed Rs 1,616 crore in the last fiscal to 1.3 million customers.

SKS Microfinance operates through 944 branches as compared to 275 branches in the last fiscal.

The company provides unsecured loans and micro-insurance products to poor women and their families spread across 30,000 villages and slums of the country while maintaining a 99 per cent repayment rate.

SKS adds over 120 new branches and 160,000 new customers every month, growing at an annual rate of 200 per cent, one of the fastest in the industry, Mr Akula said.

UNI

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