Bhalchander Vishwanath's Blog (24)

More loans from Sri Lanka and re-launching in India

We are excited to announce that Berendina with whom we have been working over the past few months has got a significantly larger loan approved from their lending bank. This would mean that we will have many more loans from Sri Lanka on our website.

On top of that we are excited to announce that we will be launching in India with an online lending model. Many of you may wonder why we are launching a lending model when we…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on June 2, 2013 at 5:40pm — No Comments

Sri Lanka field visit

This is a post by Gautam Rege of Josh Software.  Gautam Rege and Sethu Ashokan are the co-founders of Josh Software in Pune, India.  Josh Software is one of the experts in building software with Ruby on Rails. They have graciously agreed to support the ongoing development of the United Prosperity website on…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on February 17, 2013 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Upcoming launch in Sri Lanka

We are pleased to announce that we have started putting together the paperwork  for the launch in Sri Lanka. While the structure of the agreement with the bank is in place, there are still some clarifications needed on specific documentation requirements.

We will be updating the blog on the progress over the next few weeks. Thanks again for your patience and we look forward to  have entrepreneurs online soon.

Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on May 7, 2012 at 10:59pm — 1 Comment

Update on the legal agreement with the bank in Sri Lanka

In my  previous post, I had written that we were expecting to hear from the bank in Sri Lanka on the legal agreement. While we were expecting to hear back in 10 days from my previous post, we heard back only last week.


It has taken longer than what we expected, but fortunately things are moving forward. For now, I will not make a prediction on how soon we will be able to…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on November 13, 2011 at 6:09pm — No Comments

Loan processing delays

In my last post, I had written that the loan to BMI had been approved. However there have been some unanticipated delays in getting the legal agreement finalized. We are expecting to hear from the bank over the next 10 days. Hopefully we will start seeing progress soon.


Thanks for your patience.

Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on October 17, 2011 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Loan to Berendina Microfinance, Sri Lanka is approved

We are delighted to announce that a bank in Sri Lanka has approved a loan of $100,000 with a 50% guarantee toBerendina Microfinance, Sri Lanka. This will be the first ever bank loan to Berendina.


While the bank’s credit and risk committees have approved the loan, the bank’s legal department is reviewing the guarantee…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on August 16, 2011 at 9:51pm — 3 Comments

Update on new loans

Previously I had written about signing up a partner in Sri Lanka. At this stage we have learned that a proposal to approve the loan to Berendina Microfinance Institution backed by our guarantee is being reviewed by the bank’s risk and credit committees. We have been informed that the reviews should be complete by the end of July. We are cautiously optimistic that this process should go through smoothly and we hope to have loans online soon.

As I had mentioned in my previous post we…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on July 8, 2011 at 6:02pm — No Comments

Microfinance in India – solving the Gordian Knot

The Reserve Bank of India, the regulator for microfinance broadly accepted the recommendations of the Malegam committee and proposed some guidelines recently. Banks in India have been traditionally mandated to lend a certain percentage of their total lending to priority sectors such as microfinance, small business, agriculture and so on. Previously all loans to microfinance institutions…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on May 19, 2011 at 11:40am — 2 Comments

Update on signing a new partner

In the last post I mentioned that we are working on signing a new partner in South Asia. As a part of the sign up process, the new partner Microfinance institution (MFI) needs to fill an extensive evaluation questionnaire which we then assess. We also take third party reference checks, review their financials and also assess the commitment of the MFIs’ senior management to the mission…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on April 21, 2011 at 4:48pm — No Comments

The first signs of spring?

Over the past few months we have been approaching MFI in several countries – Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and Cambodia. While most of the MFIs in India get their loan funds from local banks, in these countries there seems to be very little funding from local banks.


Even in cases where banks fund MFIs, the loan is backed by an international guarantee and in many cases it is a 100% guarantee. In a few countries we found local…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on April 1, 2011 at 6:29pm — No Comments

Looking forward to an early spring

It has been a long winter for microfinance in South Asia this year.


First, I would like to share an update on the microcredit crisis in India. The Malegam committee published its recommendations for microfinance in India but no new formal regulations have been published so far though it appears several clauses of the report are likely to be implemented. As I had…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on March 18, 2011 at 6:00pm — No Comments

From Microcredit to Livelihoods – New Roles for UnitedProsperity


The Malegam committee that was constituted to look into the state of microcredit in India presented its report a few days back. The report has been greeted with cautious optimism by several experts including N Srinivasan  and…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on February 2, 2011 at 7:15pm — No Comments

Update on Ajiwika and the situation in Andhra Pradesh

A few days back I wrote about the situation in Andhra Pradesh. Since then, several Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) are now considering extending

the repayment period for the microloans so that their borrowers get some relief

and the MFIs can also recover some of their microloans.

Although the…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on December 3, 2010 at 6:06pm — 2 Comments

What is the right way to help the poor?

Microfinance as it started in Bangladesh is a social business. i.e. The microfinance institution (MFI) is either a non-profit or is owned by its borrowers in case it is a for-profit institution (e.g. Grameen

Bank). This ensured that most of these organizations in Bangladesh are single

bottom-line, pro-poor organizations whose primary and only mission is helping the

poor in a sustainable manner. While most MFIs are non-profits, there is an emerging



Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on November 4, 2010 at 6:41pm — 1 Comment

Visiting our next partner in Kutch – Day 2

On the second day of my visit to Prayas, our next MFI partner in the state of Gujarat, I went to Gandhidham, which showed signs of most modern Indian cities with its large buildings, the latest cars on the road and so on.

I learnt that Gandhidham and other parts of the Kutch area also had a high level of HIV/AIDS. There were several reasons for this – a…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on October 28, 2010 at 2:03pm — No Comments

Usurious Money lending in Kutch, India

While in Kutch I also learnt about the money lenders who operate there. The town of Anjar has around 150,000 people and has more than 40 money lenders. I was told that each of these money lenders has a loan

portfolio of around $60,000. There seem to be two types of loan products

available – the first is a 100 day daily repayment product and the second is a ‘Meter’

product. The first choice for a borrower is always the 100 day daily…


Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on October 4, 2010 at 8:33pm — 1 Comment

Starting a virtuous circle with loan guarantees

We initiated repayments on loan guarantees this weekend and have returned nearly $20,000 in repayments to individual loan guarantors. This is a major milestone for us.

During repayments the amount of guarantee that is returned is proportional to the percentage repaid on the loan tranche from the bank to the microfinance institution. Thus in case of the earliest loans of June 2009 the repayment is around 40% of the guarantee amount, while for the latter loans in May/June 2010 the… Continue

Added by Bhalchander Vishwanath on August 24, 2010 at 8:15am — 5 Comments

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