Eighteen months ago, Ujjivan started operations with four branches in Mumbai – India’s financial capital. After having impacted 17,000 families in select cities of Maharashtra (in 2009) , Ujjivan’s services footprint would have remained incomplete if it were not made available to the poor in India’s most populous city. With over half of the city’s inhabitants living in slums, the need for affordable finance was evident. Yet there were few success models of urban micro finance in the city. This unmet need led to the initiative to make microfinance available to Mumbai’s poor through the services of a dedicated team of professionals.
Ujjivan in Mumbai now serves over 50,000 women and families through 22 branches and 223 dedicated employees, with the mission of financially serving the underprivileged.
At the launch of operations in Mumbai, Mr. Samit Ghosh had said, “Our vision is to provide access to finance at the grass root level in the slums of Mumbai. Our launch in Mumbai is in line with Ujjivan’s commitment to play a serious role in bringing value to the lives of the underprivileged in urban India”. Today, after Ujjivan having reached over 50,000 women and households in the city, he says, “The hard work put in by staff and our faith in the basic service principles, are the reasons behind Ujjivan’s effective outreach in Mumbai.”
The start was slow but steady; and the rate of operations build up was not in line with our expectations and experiences elsewhere across 20 states in the country. Without allowing the obstacles to dishearten them, the Mumbai team took up the challenge to find solutions for a city which not only had a significant concentration of the poor, but also distinct cultural differences.
Mr. Sunil Behal, Distribution Manager (Mumbai) says, “The intent was to make an impact in the communities we choose to serve. My team and I feel our work has only begun and we are optimistic that over time we will become enablers for our customers to live a life of dignity and plenty. The team is focused on the opportunity and challenges that we will come across in this exciting journey.”