San Francisco headquartered crowd-funding micro-lender Kiva launched its first service in India on Thursday. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world, says the company. In India, the lender is expected to reach out to `underserved and vulnerable group' through three field partners located in Odisha and Manipur.
According to its website, Kiva is primarily funded through the support of lenders making optional donations and also it raises funds through grants, corporate sponsors, and foundations. The entire funds received by the Kiva community go directly towards funding loans on which the company does not charge interest to their Field Partners, who administer the loans.
Kiva partners with over 138 global microfinance institutions (MFIs) in more than 57 countries. These MFIs are responsible for selecting the borrowers, reviewing the loans applications and uploading them to Kiva's website once they have approved the loans. When the loans funds are raised, Kiva sends the money to the MFI, who uses the funds to replenish the loans that have been pre-disbursed to the borrower. To date, Kiva has facilitated over $273 million in loans, it said in a filing.
India President Premal Shah said, ``With more than 32 per cent of India's population falling below the international poverty line and 68 per cent living on less than $2 a day, the country is in dire need of responsible, affordable sources of capital''.
Kiva's Field Partnerships in India are selected to operate in regions with a low-concentration of microfinance services. These include People's Forum and Mahashakti Foundation from Odisha and (Weaker Sections Development Society) WSDS based in Manipur.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)