Microfinance is an effective tool that can help reduce poverty and spread economic opportunity by giving poor people access to financial services, such as credit and insurance. SKS distributes small loans that begin at Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 12,000 (about $44-$260) to poor women so they can start and expand simple businesses and increase their incomes. Their micro-enterprises range from raising cows and goats in order to sell their milk, to opening a village tea stall.
SKS uses the group lending model where poor women guarantee each other’s loans. Borrowers undergo financial literacy training and must pass a test before they are allowed to take out loans. Weekly meetings with borrowers follow a highly disciplined approach. Re-payment rates on our collateral-free loans are more than 99% because of this systematic process. SKS also offers micro-insurance to the poor as well as financing for other goods and services that can help them combat poverty.