CreditAccess Grameen Limited is the largest microfinance institution of India, which has the largest microfinance market share in the world. The institution has been listed on national stock exchanges NSE and BSE since August 2018.
CreditAccess Grameen was visualized by Vinatha M. Reddy in December 1996, inspired by the book ‘Give Us Credit’ by Alex Counts, President and CEO, Grameen Foundation USA. The book detailed remarkable stories of Bangladesh’s poor who raised themselves out of poverty using micro-credit during the microfinance movement, spearheaded by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.
The institution was founded in May 1999 as a project under the T. Muniswamappa Trust (TMT), an NGO based in South Bengaluru. The Grameen Trust, Bangladesh provided seed capital funding of $35,000 to TMT for replicating the Grameen Bank Bangladesh microfinance model.
The institution adapted the Grameen Bank’s group lending methodology of microfinance to the Indian environment and launched operations in Avalahalli on the outskirts of South Bengaluru. It offered collateral-free loans as well as other services to women from the bottom of the economic pyramid with the aim of creating equal opportunities and inclusive development for both rural and urban poor. The loans intended to help customers raise their standard of living and break the vicious poverty cycle. The institution steadily groomed a class of mature and financially literate women entrepreneurs who began to outgrow the group lending model.
The target set of customers are women because they are ambitious and can contribute to community and country’s socio-economic environment. It has been observed that women tend to use resources more productively, thereby improving financial access for them may increase their participation in the family’s and the community’s development.
In 2007, the microfinance activities of CreditAccess Grameen were transferred from NGO to a well-regulated and registered Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), which subsequently got reclassified into a regulated and governed Non-Banking Financial Company – Micro Finance Institutions (NBFC-MFI) entity by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2013. Grameen Koota continues to be the operating brand name of CreditAccess Grameen Limited (formerly known as Grameen Koota Financial Service Private Limited).
A multitude of both financial plus non-financial products and services are offered to customers to cater to their life cycle needs at one of the lowest interest rates in the microfinance industry. The products are subject to periodic modifications based on feedback from customers and input from staff members.