Thrissur: C Raveendranath, Minister for Education lauded the role played by ESAF Small Finance Bank in taking the message of financial inclusion to the length and breadth of the country and thanked the Bank for economically empowering a vast section of society, especially women, with formal credit that helped them start a new life enjoying financial independence.
Minister for education lauded the bank’s efforts to make financial inclusion possible and for economically empowering the mariginal sections of society
He was inaugurating the 27th annual day celebrations of ESAF and the second annual day celebrations of ESAF Small Finance Bank in Thrissur recently.
“The backbone of any economy is the purchasing power of the people. A healthy economy is a prerequisite for a healthy banking system. Many big banks world over had collapsed since they were focussing on a wealthy few. An alternative to this is social banking or mass banking. Banks like ESAF has proved beyond doubt that banking should be done in the wider interest of society,’’ the Minister said in his speech.
Speaking on the occasion, K Paul Thomas MD & CEO of ESAF Small Finance Bank said the Bank’s NPA level is one of the lowest in the industry. Though most of the people taking loans from the Bank are from the economically weaker sections of society they have diligently made repayments despite odds such as floods and other unforeseen events, he said.
As part of the annual day celebrations, ESAF Small Finance Bank has inaugurated 79 branches across various states taking the total retail branch count to 222. Scheme for providing houses for those who lost them during the recent floods in Kerala and the Resilient Community Insurance Scheme to cover natural disasters were launched during the function.
R Prabha, Chairman, ESAF Small Finance Bank presided over the function. A G Varghese, Executive Vice President of the Bank, proposed the vote of thanks.
Earlier, addressing media persons, Paul Thomas said the Bank will soon introduce robot-aided banking services for its customers.
He said during the past two years the Bank has added 10 lakh new customers and the total number of branches is expected to cross 500 by 2020. The total deposits increased to Rs. 3900 crore. while the total business increased to Rs. 8900 crore. Spread over 113 districts in 14 states, the Bank now has 440 banking outlets, 208 ATMs and 27 lakh customers, he said. Having a capital base of Rs. 880 crore, the Bank employs more than 2000 people, he added. Mereena Paul, Co-founder, ESAF and Chairperson ESAF Cooperative, was also present.
ESAF Sthree Ratna Award Presented
The first ESAF ‘Sthree Ratna’ Award, instituted to honour outstanding women achievers, was presented to Rekha Karthikeyan, the first and the only fisherwoman in the country to secure the licence for deep-sea fishing, at a function organised in Kochi in connection with the Women’s Day Celebrations of ESAF Cooperative.
The award comprising a plaque, citation and a cash prize of Rs. one lakh was presented by M C Josephine, Chairperson, Kerala Women’s Commission.