Kerala's ESAF Small Finance Bank on expansion spree

Kerala-based ESAF Small Finance Bank (SFB) will open its first branch in the national capital tomorrow and has plans to take the count to 145 across the country by March next year.

"ESAF Small Finance Bank is all set to open its first branch in the capital city of Delhi on December 19, 2017. With an aim to build a pan-India presence, ESAF Small Finance bank will have a total of 145 banking outlets by March next year," the bank's top officials said during a press meet here today.

The first branch in Delhi, which will be its 63rd branch in the country, will be followed by more outlets in the national capital. The bank had started operations in March this year.

"We need to brand as a pan-India bank and hence we have decided to open branches in all metro cities in India. We have plans to open new outlets in three more places in Delhi - Paschim Vihar, Rohini and Lajpat Nagar," said K Paul Thomas, Managing Director and CEO, ESAF Small Finance Bank here.

Likewise, the bank will expand to other metro cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai, followed by Kolkata.

It has collected deposits worth Rs 1,450 crore since starting its operations in March and hopes to reach a level of Rs 2,500 crore by the end of this fiscal.

At the end of the second quarter of this fiscal, ESAF SFB had a cumulative business of over Rs 6,000 crore.

Apart from regular small finance banking services, the bank also provides home loan services with loan needs of up to Rs 35 lakh, Thomas said.

Customers having savings bank account with the bank get deposit rates in range of 4-7 per cent.

The bank sees the high deposit rate of 7 per cent as a USP which no other back can match.

ESAF which began its micro credit services in 1992 from Thrissur in Kerala to cater to the unbanked and unserved will continue to serve the same segment of the economy, Thomas said, adding urban poor will also be a target for the bank.

The average ticket size of the loan given by the bank is Rs 35,000 at borrowing rates between 15-21 per cent.

ESAF SFB currently has 4,500 direct and indirect employees onboard and plans to add another 5,000 in the next five years besides 10,000 agent network in three years.

With 371 banking outlets including 62 new retail banking branches in 10 states like Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Pondicherry and Jharkhand, the bank will also expand to north eastern states going forward.

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