MicroSave, a key player in the area of market-led microfinance, recently conducted a ‘CEO Workshop’ on the theme of “Responding to Competitive Microfinance Markets”. The workshop held over 3 days (23rd to 25th Feb) at Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu was a great knowledge-sharing platform.
The workshop kicked off with a presentation by Stuart Rutherford on his book “The Poor and Their Money”. He explained the different patterns that are emerging in relation to savings, also, about the role of a promoter and a provider; he laid stress on the fact that being poor does not mean that they are without any personal preferences.
Abhishek Sinha from EKO shared his insights on handling small value transactions for SBI and the usage of mobile technology. Later the MicroSave team presented their research from the market on what the poor need.
In the afternoon session, Stuart started a discussion about his book “Portfolios of the Poor”, which Anil S.G. from IFMR Trust followed up with a session explaining the KGFS model, the logic behind it and the way it has been implemented.
Next day, the participants were divided into 3 groups and they all headed to 3 different branches of Pudhuaaru KGFS (Alakudi, Pudhupatti & Kallaperambur) on a field visit. Each group visited 2 branches just to understand and experience in person what was presented on the previous day.
Field visit to Pudhupatti branch
They were all pleasantly surprised to see the uniformity with which the branches were looking and the implementation of products and processes at the visited branches. The participants had lots of queries on different aspects that were answered, and appreciated the fact that KGFS had variety and scale.
On the final day of the workshop, Stuart shared his perspective explaining the competition amongst various MFIs in Bangladesh and how it has affected the clients. Also he was able to give a broader picture on the savings habit displayed by the clients in Bangladesh where certain MFIs savings portfolio were more than their asset portfolio.
Graham A.N. Wright from MicroSave continued by explaining the differentiation amongst big MFIs in Bangladesh. Amongst them, ASA and BRAC worked on 2 different models – The benefits of having multiple products of BRAC & the price reliability of ASA was discussed.
Later in the day Venkatesh from Equitas and Suresh Krishna from Grameen Financial Services talked about the emerging competitive scenario in India.
Bindu wrapped up the event by pointing out that high volume and market share can deteriorate the process quality and customer focus and clearly emphasized that the challenge is not in getting the market share but to maintain the process quality and customer centric approach. She stressed that usage of technology will be one of the key differentiators in order to have control on operational and financial realities.
Gurunath, CEO, Pudhuaaru KGFS, contributed to this post.