Barclays launches Microfinance Initiative in India

Barclays, CARE International and Plan International have joined together to launch Banking on Change, a three year global community investment programme aimed at improving the quality of life of 500,000 disadvantaged people by developing and extending access to basic banking services.

‘Banking on Change’ is being implemented across 11 countries in Asia, Africa and South America, with a total budget of Rs 70 crore. As a part of this programme Barclays Bank India will be spearheading a Rs 5.5 Crore microfinance initiative in partnership with two NGOs, Care International and Plan International.The project will be a part of its corporate social responsibility in India.Barclays microfinance

Speaking to the media Mr Karan Bhagat, Barclays Corporate India Managing Director & Country Head said, “India is a fast maturing market with microfinance institutions spreading rapidly to reach out effectively to the lower income strata of the society. Through the ‘banking on change programme’ we aim to provide access to financial services through authorised channels to these people, with a special focus on marginalised women”

About the Banking on Change Programme

The Banking on Change partnership consists of microfinance projects which support the creation and development of savings and loans groups managed by local communities themselves. This enables individuals in a community, who are joined together in self-governing groups, to save regularly and access small loans from the groups’ combined savings. At the end of an agreed period, the accumulated savings and interest earned on loans are shared out among members.

As groups mature and become confident in their operation, the partnership will support members of the savings and loans groups in learning financial and entrepreneurial skills. The partners will also help them access a wider range of financial products and services, including those from formal financial institutions, to enhance their financial security. In a number of countries, Barclays, CARE and Plan will work together to develop appropriate products and channels that meet community needs.

In addition, the partnership and the way the three organisations work together is, in itself, an important component of the programme. Ongoing monitoring and evaluation will take place to evaluate the value created and impact achieved through such a cross-sector partnership.

The partnership has three main objectives:

  • Outreach: To make use of savings-led community approaches to reach 500,000 disadvantaged people who are excluded from, or have limited access to, formal or informal financial services
  • Impact: To achieve a positive socio-economic impact on disadvantaged and vulnerable people through the provision of basic financial services within communities, the development of add-on services such as training on entrepreneurial skills, and the improvement of the existing savings-led community finance methodology
  • Inclusion: To improve marginalised communities’ level of financial inclusion through the use, and trial of, informal and formal financial products, services and channels tailored to their requirements.
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