GUWAHATI, March 12 - The two Reserve Bank of India-recognised microfinance industry Self-Regulatory Organizations (SROs) � Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) and Sa-Dhan � today announced a series of redressal measures to address the issues of some stressed customers in Assam with special focus on the tea garden workers of Upper Assam and also to lay the foundation for prudent and healthy growth in the sector going forward.
The redressal measures seek to help the customers with the cut-off date of February 29, 2020, with a flexibility to pay back with a lower monthly payment, at a lower rate of interest and get prompt repayment benefits on�regular payment and closure of the existing loan.
These measures will be administered through the key lenders in the sector and full details are available through local grievance centres and client toll-free numbers specially set up for this purpose.
Harsh Shrivastava, CEO of MFIN, said �The microfinance sector has provided unsecured, small loans to the underserved segment of society across 32 states in India. Assam has been the third best State on repayment efficiency in the country as of September 2019. We are delighted to offer these measures to customers who have missed their payments in the last three to four months due to various reasons. This has been created after extensive consultations with all stakeholders including clients, our regulator RBI, local associations and also the State government with all types of lenders. This seeks to help clients come back on their repayment and improve their credit record in the bureau, which is the key for any future loans. With these measures, we urge clients who have been waiting for an announcement to approach their key lenders immediately to discuss and avail of the benefits.�
P Satish, Executive Director of Sa-Dhan said, �We have also agreed on many measures for the future including on following the Code for Responsible Lending within exposure limits, number of lenders, collection and recovery processes, amongst others. Every payment or non-payment is tracked by the credit bureau and a good credit repayment record is the key for future loans. We urge clients not to get confused and distracted by rumours in the field.�
He said that clients should do the needful to contact their lenders directly and work out the payments to become a regular client again.
�Many of our MFI lenders have been active in Assam for several years and continue to extend loans to good quality clients even today and will do so even in the future,� said Satish.
Meanwhile, MFIN and Sa-Dhan today announced the �Bihu Aarthik Swaavalamban� initiative for stressed women microfinance borrowers in Assam.
The initiative offers a three-pronged relief covering microfinance loan repayment at lower monthly instalment, repayment at a lower rate of interest, and availing of prompt repayment benefits on regular payment and closure of existing loan. This relief is effective immediately and can be availed on an individual basis until April 15.
Announcing the initiative, Manoj Nambiar, Chairperson of MFIN Board, said, �This package is the Assam microfinance sector�s helping hand to stressed clients to get back on track.�