History of ESAF

Experience the Joy of Banking

ESAF Small Finance Bank (ESAF SFB) the new age social bank continues to redefine the banking experience to all the stakeholders. We primarily focus on expanding the banking horizon to new unbanked/underbanked area, yet we stand as a bank for all with presence in urban, semi urban, rural and rural unbanked areas.

ESAF started it’s journey as an NGO during the year 1992, with a larger vision of sustainable and holistic transformation of the poor and the marginalized. The success of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh reinforced the vision of Shri. K. Paul Thomas the Founder 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, giving importance of financial component in holistic economic development of the poor and marginalized. ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt. Ltd. was one of the pioneers in establishing a formal and structured form of lending through forming mutually trusted groups at the village level that could not only bring financial sustainability but also reinforced the fact that ‘the poor of our country are trustworthy’. In the remote and unbanked/under banked regions of the country, ESAF could cultivate a culture of financial discipline and also improved the workers participation rate as women too joined the workforce or started some income generation activity that could financially support their household. Financial literacy mission started by ESAF could not only bring know-how on how to spend wisely but also secure the future. ESAF has adopted a unique social business strategy, with a triple bottom line approach, emphasizing on People, Planet and Prosperity. The following are some of the highlights:

  • For every rupee invested in ESAF, studies by international agencies revealed that the Social Return on Investment stood at Rs. 3.19.
  • Some of the other changes brought about by ESAF are women’s access to employment, contribution to household income, access to and control over household resources, participation in household financial decision-making etc.
  • ESAF could also gather a carbon offset of 20 million tones in the international market.

Birth of ESAF Small Finance Bank

After evaluating the contributions and significance of ESAF in the development of rural and unreached segments of the nation, the Reserve Bank of India has been kind enough to issue an in-principle license to ESAF Microfinance and Investments Pvt. Ltd. to set up a new Small Finance Bank during October, 2015. After complying with the licensing conditions prescribed by the Reserve Bank of India and in terms of the RBI’s final license in November 2016, ESAF Small Finance Bank started the commencement of business on 10th March 2017.

ESAF Small Finance Bank is forging ahead with an objective of “Fighting the Partiality of Prosperity” through strengthening the people at the bottom of the pyramid with a customer base of 3.3 million. The business model of the Organization combined the unique methodology of selecting and servicing customers at the front end with technology, processes and 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 May 2019, we have almost 2500 employees.

Scheduled Bank with NRE Status

During its past two years of existence, the RBI has permitted the Bank to start NRE (Rupee) Account Operations in June 2018. ESAF Small Finance Bank has got Reserve Bank of India approval for the inclusion in the second schedule of the RBI Act 1934 within two years of its commencement of operations and hence the Bank became a Scheduled Bank with effect from 27th December 2018.

Operational Highlights

As of now, ESAF Small Finance Bank has 436 banking outlets, including 238 new retail banking outlets and 198 Ultra Small Branches and 208 ATMs spread across 14 states and 113 districts in India, covering the regions of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Pondicherry, New Delhi, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

The Bank offers a host of modern banking services like ATMs, Debit Card, Safe Deposit Lockers, Internet banking, Mobile Banking, Agent banking, SMS banking, RTGS, NEFT, CTS etc. The door step delivery services, Free video calling facility at branches and Hrudaya Deposit Scheme are some of the exclusive features offered by ESAF Small Finance Bank. A unique deposit scheme of ESAF Small Finance Bank, namely Hrudaya deposit scheme, as the name suggests, stands for a social cause, through which, the Bank provides the customers an opportunity to be a part in economic development of the bottom of the pyramid. As an organization it strives for financial peace by bridging the gap between the haves and the have-nots.