Published on: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com
Date: Feb 05, 2017
By Atmadip Ray, ET Bureau
KOLKATA: The UK's CDC Group-backed Ujjivan Small Finance Bank is going to open its first set of branches for public transaction on Monday and start rolling out branch network across India from next fiscal.
Ujjivan Managing Director Samit Ghosh said that the bank will test all the technical and connectivity issues over the next one month as a preparation before going full throttle.
Reserve Bank of India had issued a press statement on February 1 saying the bank commenced operation on that day. Ghosh has clarified to ET that the bank is operationally ready since February 1 but customer transaction will commence only on February 6.
The company, which raised Rs 887 crore in IPO last year, has planned a soft launch with five branches in Bangalore as a pilot. There would be just about 14 branches by March.
Post IPO, foreign holding in the company came down to below 49% and stood at 48.32% as on January 13, with International Finance Corporation, Elevar Equity, and NewQuest Capital Partners having direct interest in it.
In a presentation to investors last month, Ujjivan said that it will simultaneously launch major alternate channels such as biometric ATM, phone banking, internet and mobile Banking.
Nobel winner Muhammad Yunus, a pioneer in microfinance and founder of Bangladesh's Grameen Bank, will grace the occasion.
Ujjivan is India's third largest microfinance company in terms of loans outstanding, after Janalakshmi Financial Services and Bharat Financial Inclusion. It has the largest pan-India presence with through 469 branches with 44% year-on-year jump in gross loan book to Rs 6,588 crore at the end of December, last year. It has 36 lakh active small borrowers.
Its net profit for the December quarter fell 9.5% to Rs 44 crore due to the small finance bank related cost as well as on account of higher credit provisioning due to lower collection efficiency post demonetization.
On February 6, Ujjivan is slated to become India's fifth small finance bank. RBI had offered preliminary licenses to 10 financial services company for setting up small finance banks.