The Thrissur based small finance bank Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), is looking forward to raise up to Rs.75 crores as equity funding during the current fiscal year. The micro lender has already received green signal from one of its top investors to cover one-third of the total amount. ESAF also aims to increase its disbursal to Rs.900 crores by the end of FY 2017, which is comparatively higher than the disbursement figures of the previous years.
According to Chairman K Paul Thomas, ESAF Microfinance is in talks with insurance companies and other key players in the financial marketplace, to raise funds up to Rs.500 crores in unsecured bonds and another Rs.150 crores in commercial papers.
ESAF, which draws two-third of its business from Kerala, has evolved from a career guidance centre to a microfinance institution in a very short time. In 2016, the Micro Finance Institutions Network (MFIN) had listed ESAF among the top micro finance institutions in the country. ESAF, at present, has around 150 branches spread across Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Jharkhand, serving more than 5 lakh households.
ESAF will officially launch as a full service bank in the third week of March after being piloted for a period of 7 days starting from March 10th. The micro finance company primarily targets groups such as rural women and agrarian societies. Currently, the lending rate of ESAF stands at 22.9% a year.