The country’s largest private sector ICICI Bank said it has loaned over Rs 5,500 crore to more than 25 lakh women in rural India in last five years, envisioning financial inclusion and empowerment.
The loan is given to self help groups (SHGs) having 10-20 women members who were under-privileged and live in rural and semi urban areas.
These women pool their resources and use the money for income generating activities -- cattle and goat rearing, kirana vending, jewellery making and handicrafts, among others.
“The women forming these SHGs are remarkable and they have great business acumen. This urges us to continue funding their dreams and help uplift more families,” ICICI Bank MD & CEO Chanda Kochhar said in a statement.
She said ICICI Bank has positively impacted nearly 25 lakh women beneficiaries in 2.7 lakh groups disbursing loans over Rs 5,500 crore till date.
“Of these, 14 lakh women took loan from a formal institution for the first time,” the bank said.
The bank has a dedicated team to service these SHGs and women, and they do not even need to visit a bank branch as it is a doorstep service.
Using technology, ICICI Bank officials also assist women SHGs to open bank account through tap banking.
As on January 31, 2017 ICICI Bank had 2,353 branches in rural and semi-urban areas. Of this, 479 branches are in unbanked villages.
The bank has also setup over 120 credit and operation hubs across the country to expedite loan processing.