Of late there have been some issues in Andhra Pradesh wherein some micro credit lenders’ forced recovery tactics resulted in suicides and related trouble.
RangDe, a leading player in Micro Credit, analyses the scenario and explains how RangDe stands different.
In the last couple of weeks, we have heard of more than a couple of suicides by borrowers of microfinance institutions in Andhra Pradesh. While the media is known to exaggerate and take a lop sided view of stories, let us not deny the fact that there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed by the industry. Since the inception of Rang De was prompted by such instances, we take this opportunity to share with you the underlying values and principles that govern our work at Rang De:
Lowering Interest Rates: The peer to peer lending model is great but we believe it is of no use if we do not deliver value to the end users-our borrowers. We expect social investors to ignore the ROI factor while investing on RangDe.Org and we ensure they have a good reason to do so. Rang De borrowers pay nothing more than 8.5% flat p.a. which amounts to 15.3% A.P.R. We would like to see happy entrepreneurs who are able to see the benefit of the Rang De loan.
Repayment Rate & Mechanism: With the help of our field partners, we ensure that the screening of borrowers is done before their application for a loan reaches Rang De. Once the repayment begins, the communication channels with the field partner remains open. We do accept delays in repayments as long as we are notified of the reasons. Defaults for genuine reasons is accepted and the reasons for default is communicated to the social investor. We are not paranoid about 100% repayment rate but we are paranoid when it comes to transparency.
RangDe is hosting a Live-in Concert in association with Vasu Dixit’s band, Swarathma, today in Chennai. [Watch Vasu Dixit Videos]
Yesterday I happened to attend their press conference, along with few other bloggers, in the presence of Ms Waheeda Rehman, a reputed actress of yesteryears, who is supporting the cause of RangDe.
Here’re some interesting points noted during the press conference:
Rs 100 from each ticket (of the concert, priced Rs 300 and 500) will be diverted as social investment in the name of ticket purchaser. This way, as you enjoy the concert, you’ll also be helping out micro borrowers in remote places of India. Investment in RangDe can start with as low as Rs 100. RangDe doesn’t lend money directly to individuals, but they form a community of borrowers and lend them as a group and mentor them. This way, because of the collective responsibility of the group, the recovery rate is as high as 98.5%
* Demand for micro credit in India was Rs 200,000 crore in 2006, but the availability was just 10% of that, at 20k crores. Today in 2010, we’ve not been able to meet the demand beyond 15%.
* Less than 6% of bank branches are located in rural India. This is a prime reason why majority do not have access to finance (Stated by Soumitra Ghosh of CSO partners, an ICICI venture that supports organizations like RangDe)
* RangDe went live on Jan 26, 2008 and so far has helped over 2800 micro entrepreneurs, with the help of over 1400 social investors.
* RangDe is planning to expand into vocational training, thus extending its reach further.
Couple of photos taken during the press conf: Above: Left: the RangDe Team, with founder CEO Ram NK in the Centre, Right: Press meet with Ram, Ms Waheeda Rehman and Soumitra Ghosh.
Below: Ms Waheeda Rehman
RangDe is very careful in selecting its field partners, who get 5% of the interest and do most of the work-lending money to communities, mentoring them, ensuring recovery and so on. Answering my question Ram detailed various parameters (experience, accounts, team etc) they look into before signing up a partner.
A unique Music concert is lined up for the city of Chennai, Scheduled to happen on 1st of May, 2010, at Escapade, OMR, Chennai. The event is organized by: RangDe, and performance will be by Vasu Dixit lead Music Band: Swarathma
Rang De is a web-based social initiative that supports rural micro-entrepreneurs from low income households with cost-effective loans to either set up or run a business. Through its online lending platform called www.rangde.org, the organization enables individuals to lend small sums of money to micro-entrepreneurs from low income households.
Above: Ram and Smita, founders of RangDe, delegates of Cerebrate.in
Special Invitee – Ms. Waheeda Rehman has graciously agreed to attend the event. Ever since she learnt about Rang De in December last year she has been an active supporter.
Swarathma is a popular Bangalore based music group (www.swarathma.com). They sing songs born of pain and pleasure, joys and sorrows, rain and shine, of hope that lifts hearts out of despair, of life as we know it today. The 6 member band has performed in cities across India and abroad. With a great combination of folk instruments and lyrics that can touch the listener’s soul, the band has very graciously agreed to support Rang De.
Above: Vasu Dixit of Swarathma Band
Music is known to get people together and the Rang De Concert aims to do just that and reach out to people – to spread the word about microcredit and Rang De. The concert will be a fundraiser cum an awareness event. We are looking for sponsors who will join hands with us to achieve this mission.
Probably for the first time the event will be held amidst an organic farm and an eco-friendly restaurant in the heart of OMR, bordering the backwaters of the Muthukadu Lake near Thoraipakkam. We hope that this venue will help us in significantly reducing the carbon footprint of the event.
Here’re the event details, Mark your calendar.
Date: 01 May 2010, Saturday
Time: 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm
Venue: Escapade, Okyampettai, Thuraipakkam, OMR, Chennai