Thrissur: ESAF Small Finance Bank was chosen as the Runner-Up of the much-coveted European Microfinance Award 2018 based on the theme ‘Financial Inclusion through Technology’ at the European Microfinance Week held in Luxembourg from November 14 to 16. The theme of this year’s award highlighted the role of technology in advancing financial inclusion. ADVANS from Ivory Coast was announced the winner while KMF from Kazakhstan was also conferred the Runner-up position along with ESAF Small Finance Bank. The three finalist where selected from 27 applications received from 22 countries. The runner-up award carries a certificate and prize money of € 10,000 which is granted by the Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs-Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs while the event was jointly organised by the European Microfinance Platform and Inclusive Finance Network, Luxembourg. ESAF SFB was commended by the Selection Committee for its huge outreach (over 2.5 million clients benefiting from these solutions) and its twin focus on back and front-end solutions. “ESAF Small Finance Bank is leveraging the rapid expansion of mobile phone and smart phone penetration in India to digitise a wide range of its lending processes, in particular customer on-boarding, electronic applications, customer financial training, credit appraisal, on-field verification, mandatory customer identity and address verification using eKYC, as well as opening of accounts, cashless disbursement and paperless collections of loan repayments. ESAF's field officers use Internet-connected tablets with biometric identity verification and its clients have QR-enabled Aadhaar Cards – with Government-issued 12-digit unique identify numbers based on biometric and demographic data. Their details are automatically transmitted for credit bureau verification, and clients are given ATM cards to withdraw money in convenient tranches from any ATM,” the selection committee observed. “I am very happy that ESAF SFB could become a runner-up at the prestigious European Microfinance Award 2018. ESAF SFB has been notified to International standard for its efforts in implementing financial inclusion through tab-based technology among 2.5 million women across 12 states in India” said K Paul Thomas, MD and CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank.