Organization Profile & Updates
Founder: Vikram Akula
Year of First Loan: 1998
Total Borrowers (1998-2005): 87,050
Current Borrowers (2004): 73,320
% Women Borrowers (2005): 100%
Clients Considered Poorest: 100%
Loaned (2000-2004): $15 million
Loan Portfolio (2005): $11 million
Operating Budget (2004): $1 million
Number of Employees: 232
Maximum First-Loan Size: $233
Repayment rate: 100%
Swayam Krishi Sangam (SKS)301, Babukhan Estate
Hyderabad 500 029, A.P.,
SKS offers the following services to its clients (women and their families who are living in poverty):
- Preschool education/health/nutrition
- Savings-both compulsory group accounts (Group amount of Rupees 5 per week=$.12/wk) and voluntary individual accounts
- Loans-income-generating, mid-term, group fund, and emergency loans
- Insurance-focused on the rural sector; to be completed by the end of 2005
|Total Sangams (Centers)||928||2,518||2,940|
|Total Loan Clients||24,800||73,635||87,050|
|Total Loans Outstanding||USD||2,691,744||7,696,793||9,184,595|
|Average Loan Outstanding per Loan Client||USD||109||104.5||105.5|
|Portfolio-At-Risk > 30 Days (%) ||0.0%||5.0%||3.89%|
|Average Savings per Client||USD||6.2||3.1||3|
|Operating Self-Sufficiency (OSS) ||99.7%||103%||139%|
|Clients per Field Staff||277||460||498|
Regarding the above table:
- Figures for the year March 2004 were converted at a rate of 43.4 rupees per US$, for March 2005 @ 43.6 rupees per US$ and for June 2005 is @ 43.5 rupees per US$.
- Portfolio-At-Risk percentage represents the remaining outstanding balance of loans with arrears > 30 days as a percentage of total loans outstanding.
- OSS indicates the percentage of total actual operating costs (admin, loan loss provision, and interest) that is covered by income from operations (e.g., income earned on the loan portfolio). When SKS reaches 100%, this is its break even for the organization.
- Administrative Efficiency measures how much it costs to keep a dollar outstanding in the hands of our clients.
SKS works with the following partners:
- FWWB-Training Programs for staff
- CGAP-PPIC and ABC exercise
- i 2 Foundation-SKS pre-school education-health-nutrition program
- Digital Partners-Smart Card Project
- Grameen Foundation-Smart Card Project
- Sadhan-a national association of community development financial institutions
Vikram Akula, who grew up in Schenectady, upstate New York, encountered poverty first hand while visiting relatives in Medhak. The year that Akula spent in Zaheerabad transformed him forever. He returned to India in 1994 on a Fulbright Scholarship and established SKS in 1998 in hopes that he could play a small role in alleviating the destitution that his people in India faced.
SKS currently operates in one of the poorest parts of India, the Medak, Nalgonda and Nizamabad Districts of the Telangana region of Andhra Pradesh. The region is part of the drought-prone, semi-arid Deccan plateau. SKS selected the region for start-up activities because more than half of its people live in abject poverty. The region is plagued by high rates of hunger, illiteracy, disease, and bonded labor. The vast majority of poor are landless laborers or marginal farmers who draw their livelihood from subsistence agriculture. Their plight is worsened by frequent drought, severe deforestation, and soil erosion.
The SKS mission is to empower the poor to become self-reliant. SKS seeks to alleviate poverty through the provision of small, affordable loans for emergency needs, income-generating activities, and more.
SKS hopes to reach 300,000 families in the Telangana region by 2008. Long-term goals include expansion towards two of India's poorest districts in the neighboring states, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
One SKS innovation is the Smart Card Project. SKS believes the Smart Card Project will revolutionize microfinance by overcoming a major problem for microfinance institutions (MFIs)-the high cost of delivering financial services to the doorstep of the poor. It will do so by using Smart Cards to reduce the time of weekly village meetings, thereby significantly increasing the efficiency of field staff, lowering costs of delivery, and enabling MFIs that target the poor to more quickly reach financial viability.
All MFIs face the problem of the high cost of delivery, but the problem is especially acute for MFIs that target the poorest of the poor because such MFIs typically work in remote, sparsely-populated regions where roads are not well developed. Therefore travel costs become prohibitive. Moreover, given the severe poverty of their clients, such MFIs typically have lower average loan portfolios, thus it takes longer to reach financial sustainability. Smart Cards will solve that problem.
SKS has always thought about alleviating poverty on a large scale. SKS realized early on that they needed the ability to track thousands (and someday hundreds of thousands) of microfinance loans. To that end, SKS designed a simple-to-operate, in-house Management Information System. An explanation of this MIS follows: