History of ESAF

The journey of ESAF began in a small house named ‘Little’ at Thrissur in 1992. Contrary to what the name sounds, ESAF Society was launched with a bigger vision of sustainable holistic transformation of the poor and the marginalized. The success of Grameen bank in Bangladesh reinforced the vision of K. Paul Thomas the Founder and Managing Director of ESAF. In 1995, he launched Micro Enterprises Development (MED) services and it resulted in the formation of ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt. Ltd., in 2008. The increased focus on microfinance was inevitable as the founder was clear in his understanding of the importance of financial component in holistic economic development of the poor. Gradually, ESAF Microfinance earned its place among the top ten Microfinance institutions in India.

As an MFI, ESAF was unique in manifold ways. Community ownership, higher proportion of female field staff, integrated approach etc. were some of the features, which distinguished the organization as a socially focused entity. The business model of the Organization combined the unique methodology of selecting and servicing customers at the front end with technology, processes & disciplines of modern retail banking at the back end. We have had an excellent growth and consolidation phase in the past few years. As on 31st March 2016, we have almost 2500 employees and a customer outreach of over 1.2 million.

In 2015, the Reserve Bank of India, the financial regulator in the country has granted in-principle license to ESAF to launch a Small Finance bank. ESAF Small Finance Bank was one amongst the ten NBFCs to receive an 'in principle' approval from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to set up a Small Finance Bank in the private sector. In November 2016, the final license was issued by the RBI. ESAF Small Finance Bank was incorporated on May 05, 2016, with its registered office in Thrissur.