Fino launches microfinance credit bureau

Mumbai: Just when the lending activity to poor unbanked was on a rise, a credit information bureau to help banks distinguish between good and bad borrowers has come up.

Financial Information Network & Operations (Fino), has launched Sayana Ravi, a credit bureau specifically for the rural and urban poor, and would help banks and institutions who cater to this segment. The bureau has been based on the lines of the Credit Information Bureau (Cibil). “Information about borrowers has been stored on the smart cards for our 4 million customers,” said Manish Khera, chief executive officer of Fino, describing Sayana Ravi.

The amount that has been deposited, withdrawn, repayment of past loans by microfinance customers are factors used to give a credit scoring made available by biometric smart-cards. “So far banks have been following the group model. If it’s a teacher they say we will lend up to this amount, in case of hawkers the eligibility is different. What we are telling banks is that they can take individual calls,” Khera said.”We have been talking to banks for the past three-four months, including Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, ICICI Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India and many others,” he said.

However, as the microfinance industry is in a nascent stage, the information available on borrowers is limited. As a result repayment of loans may not be the only thing looked at.

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