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Capital Float raises $45 million in series C led by Ribbit Capital, Creation

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Capital Float will use the funds to expand its lending efforts, increase geographical footprint and invest in products and technology

A file photo of Capital Float founders Sashank Rishyasringa (left) and Gaurav Hinduja. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

A file photo of Capital Float founders Sashank Rishyasringa (left) and Gaurav Hinduja. Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Digital lending firm Capital Float on Monday said it has raised $45 million (Rs293 crore) in a series C round led by Palo Alto-based fin-tech investor Ribbit Capital, with substantial participation from follow-on investors SAIF Partners, Sequoia India and Creation Investments Capital Management.

Creation Investments had last year led Capital Float’s $25 million series B round.

Capital Float will use the funds to expand its lending efforts, increase geographical footprint and invest in products and technology, founders Sashank Rishyasringa and Gaurav Hinduja said in a telephonic interview.

The company will ramp up disbursements, with a special focus on loans to small merchants and kirana store owners, and is aiming to hit a loan book of Rs1,500 crore by March 2018. It currently has Rs700 crore in assets under management (AUM), and about 15,000 customers, mainly engaged in e-commerce-based selling, traditional retail, manufacturing and services businesses.

The latest round takes the total equity investment in the company to $87 million.

For Ribbit, this marks its fourth and largest investment in India’s financial services sector, besides Policy Bazaar (2014) and Zest Money and Money View (2015). It invested about $20 million in Capital Float as part of this round, which takes its total exposure in India to $40 million, partner Nick Shalek said.

“We see two major trends unfolding and Capital Float embodies both of them. There has been an enormous gap between supply and demand in credit in India, and second, Indian businesses and consumers, in our opinion, are looking for modern brands that serve them well online and on mobile,” said Shalek, in a conference call from California.

Ribbit’s investment suggests the growing interest from foreign investors in the fin-tech sector, particularly digital enterprise lending, in India. Recently, Chennai-based NBFC Five Star Business Finance raised funds from Norwest Venture Partners, while RentoMojo got Bain Capital Ventures and Lending Club founder Renaud Laplanche to fund its series B round.

“We see great opportunities in wealth management and insurance, both of which Capital Float touched on. I think the opportunity for investors like us is to back entrepreneurs with great technology teams and focus on innovation who can build financial brands,” said Shalek.

Capital Float is its major bet in the growing digital lending space.

“We have seen a significant growth since our last round of funding—4x in terms of our AUM and almost a 10x growth in terms of our monthly disbursal volume,” said Hinduja.

Started in 2013, Capital Float offers unsecured loans to medium and small enterprises and small entrepreneurs digitally, addressing a segment believed to be underserved by traditional lenders.

“Since we are a lending business and money is the raw material, we also want to share that we raised a large quantum of debt from banks and NBFCs over the last 12 months, totaling $67 million (approx. Rs437 crore),” said Rishyasringa. Debt capital was infused by business partners—banks including RBL Bank, IDFC Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank and NBFCs including IFMR and Reliance Capital.

Capital Float uses proprietory credit-scoring and underwriting algorithms to on-lend funds it raises from banks and NBFCs from time to time. Over the past year, the company pioneered a hybrid model, where its financial partners “co-lend” alongside the company’s own balance sheet to fund borrowers. Currently, about 35% of the loans disbursed are through partner lenders.

Going forward, the company will look to deepening technology integrations with partners, with the aim of having 50% of assets under management funded through co-lending partners, Hinduja said.

Yes, microlending reduces extreme poverty

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June 26, 2017 by Quanda Zhang, The Conversation

A small boost in microlending to the developing world could lift more than 10.5 million people out of extreme poverty. That’s one conclusion of my study, published last month in The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, which found that microfinance not only reduces how many households live in poverty but also how poor they are.

While the world has seen some progress over the past 15 years in reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which placed eradicating hunger and  on top of the global agenda, extreme poverty remains a pressing challenge. It continues to be a priority in the 2015-2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

By 2015, the proportion of the world’s population living in extreme poverty had dropped to 14% from 50% in 1990, according to the MDG Monitor. But in Sub-Saharan Africa, more than 40% population continues to live on less than US$1.25 a day. And extreme poverty appears to have increased in Western Asia.

Poverty may have retreated, but it clearly remains a force in people’s lives.

Microfinance and poverty reduction

The practice of giving small loans (as little as US$10 or as much as $US500) to the very poor, alongside other  such as savings accounts and financial training, was the brainchild of economist Mohammad Yunus.

In the 1970s, he began offering credit to poor women in the village of Jobra, Bangladesh, so that they could launch income-generating projects to help support themselves and their families. In 2006, those experiments won Yunus and his microcredit-focused Grameen Bank a Nobel Peace Prize.

Since then, various forms of microlending programs have been introduced in many countries, from India to the United States. According to a 2015 report from advocacy organisation Microcredit Summit Campaign, by 2013, some 3,098 microfinance institutions had reached over 211 million clients worldwide, just under half of whom were living in extreme poverty.

In 2017, the market for microfinance investments in micro, small and medium enterprises, as well as the provision of financial services to those businesses, is projected to grow by an average of 10% to 15%. Even stronger growth is expected in India and the Asia-Pacific region.

Access to credit enables poor people to become entrepreneurs, increasing their earnings and improving their quality of life. Many lenders accompany their small loans and financial services with peer support, networking opportunities and even health care to improve their clients’ odds of building a successful small business.

In doing so, many economists submit, they show that microfinance has a powerful potential to reduce poverty.

But evidence that microfinance actually works is mixed. Studies examining its impact in rural Pakistan, urban Kenya and Uganda, among other developing countries, have both confirmed and contradicted the premise of Mohammud Yunus’s innovation.

Evidence from around the world

My study aimed to make sense of this inconclusive evidence, taking a macroeconomic approach that pulls information from many countries together to provide a clearer picture.

Officially, poverty is measured using two World Bank indicators: the poverty headcount ratio (which measures the percentage of the population living below the US$1.25 a day mark) and the poverty gap (which assesses how far below that line people fall, on average, and is expressed as a percentage).

The key variable of significance in my analysis is participation in microfinance programs. I defined this in two ways for each country studied: the proportion of total clients as a share of national population, and the average size of loan (gross loan portfolio over total clients), using microfinance data from the Microcredit Summit Campaign and MIX Market), a microfinance auditing firm.

What I found was a negative relationship between microfinance participation and poverty, meaning that the more people in a given country received small loans, the less poverty it registered. Thus, in the average developing nation, an increase in the gross loan portfolio per client by just 10% could reduce the extreme poverty rate by 0.0126 percentage points.

I also found that microfinance reduces the depth of poverty, shrinking the gap between a person’s daily budget for living and the current US$1.25 per day definition of  (the non-poor have a 0% shortfall).

Policy implications

Microfinance is no panacea. Numerous studies have shown that country-specific and cultural factors are determinants in how microfinance will interact with poverty, and there are occasionally devastating tales of failure in which the inability to repay a very small loan has plunged households further into desperate penury.

Overall, however, my study suggests that more microcredit would benefit poor countries. National governments and international development agencies can continue to promote  as a tool for reducing poverty, while bearing in mind the limitations of any single strategy in tackling an entrenched global problem.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-06-microlending-extreme-poverty.html#jCp

Limited access to finance impedes MSME growth and limit their contribution to the global economy – MicroSave

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Empirical studies have shown that MSMEs contribute over 55% of GDP and over 65% of total employment in high-income countries. MSMEs and informal enterprises account for over 60% of GDP and over 70% of total employment in low-income countries, while they contribute about 70% of GDP and 95% of total employment in middle-income countries.

According to a 2010 IFC study, the global estimate for MSMEs was around 455 million with 80% of MSMEs in emerging markets. MSMEs importance to the local and national economy cannot be overlooked as they contribute to GDP, taxes and duties, and employment and jobs. It is estimated that MSMEs employ over 2.2 billion people globally, which is around 50% of the total employed workforce.

Survival statistics for MSMEs are grim, however, as many do not manage to live beyond 5 years. Limited access to finance is one of the challenges impeding MSME growth and limiting their contribution to the global economy. In this publication, we discuss the critical role of MSMEs and clearly show why MSMEs need support as they aide in alleviating poverty and boost sustainable growth in developing countries.

 

Snapshots of Myanmar’s flourishing microfinance market

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August 6, 2017 12:31 pm JST

Low-income female entrepreneurs are using small loans to build a better future

YUICHI NITTA, Nikkei staff writer

An employee counts a roughly 60 million kyat pile of bank notes at a branch of Socio Lite Foundation, a microfinance institution, on the outskirts of Yangon. About half of the money will be loaned to customers that day. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

YANGON — Ever since Myanmar began transitioning to civilian rule in 2011 and opening up its borders, investor money and advanced technology has been flooding in. One of the big changes accompanying this wave has been the spread of microfinance, or loan services designed to help low-income families start businesses.

A Socio Lite Foundation employee rides a motorcycle to a village to meet with customers. The foundation extends loans to about 26,000 people in seven municipalities near Yangon. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

Take, for example, a 51-year-old woman who runs a restaurant in north of Yangon. She applied to a microfinance institution for a 400,000 kyat ($295) loan, aiming to use the money to buy fresh mutton from relatives. Her plan is to use the proceeds from the meat sales to purchase more meat and make her weekly loan payments.

Women receive loans of 100,000 kyat each near Yangon. They break into groups of five to co-sign for each loan they receive. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

Nu Yi Win, 47, strokes her pig in Bago, north of Yangon. She raises the animals with the help of a loan from microfinance institution MJI Enterprise. Since receiving the loan, which requires a weekly payment of 8,500 kyat, her household income has increased by about 50%. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The government is a big supporter of microfinance. In 2011, it enacted laws to allow foreign companies and nongovernmental institutions to enter the market. Last year, it relaxed regulations to enable the number of such lenders to grow rapidly.

A microfinance worker demonstrates JBrain, a customer management app jointly developed by Japanese software developer Japan Brain and Japanese microfinance consultancy Linklusion, near Yangon. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

An employee hands out copies of Mango! Social Magazine, a free microfinance newspaper created to improve financial literacy in Bago, north of Yangon. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The practice is not without its problems, however. Some borrowers get buried under multiple debts. A woman in a rural area of Mandalay, in central Myanmar, took out loans from three microfinance institutions. But after two years, her new rice business flopped, just as she found out about her unplanned pregnancy.

The woman seated at right was forced to dip into the joint deposit of her village in Mandalay, in central Myanmar, after becoming unable to pay off her microfinance debt due to her husband’s illness. She may get sued by the other four members of her loan co-signing group. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

With no source of income, she makes ends meet by borrowing money from a loan shark. The four other people who belong to her loan co-signing group — required for receiving money from microlenders — have grown distrustful of her and no longer want her as a member.

This woman in Mandalay is saddled with multiple debts after taking out loans from different microfinance institutions. She is expecting her eighth child and has no prospects of paying off her debts. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

For those turning to microfinance, the line between success and failure can be alarmingly thin. But even the most beleaguered women I met tended to share the belief that tomorrow will bring better things.

The line between success and failure is extremely fine for entrepreneurs using microfinance services in Myanmar, but more than 99% of small loans are paid off. Hidenori Kuroyanagi, managing director of microfinance consultancy Linklusion, said he thinks microfinance can shore up the economy if the country makes full use of its hardworking people to build a healthy, customer-oriented financial market. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

The Biggest Myth of Sustainable Investing

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By Janet Brown

Many people like the idea of sustainable or impact investing, but they have a common misconception that performance can suffer. This notion has been repeatedly debunked.

A 2015 review of over 2,000 academic studies since the 1970s found that the majority of studies show positive findings between environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors and corporate financial performance.

In 2012 RBC Asset Management2 reviewed four bodies of research on sustainable investing and concluded that socially responsible investing has not resulted in lower investment returns.

You don’t have to rely on surveys and studies, however. You can also look at real world results by comparing the performance of a sustainable stock index, like the MSCI KLD 400 Social index, which measures the performance of stocks with high environmental, social and governance ratings, and a conventional stock index like the S&P 500.

Since 1990, when the KLD started, it has performed slightly better than the S&P 500, as shown in the below graph.

This chart illustrates the performance of a hypothetical $10,000 investment made in the MSCI KLD 400 index versus the S&P 500 from 6/30/90-6/30/17. The chart assumes reinvestment of dividends and capital gains, but does not reflect the effect of any applicable sales charge or redemption fees. This chart does not imply future performance. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. Past performance does not guarantee future results

 

Sustainable investing has evolved. Have you kept up?

Given all these studies and the actual track record of sustainable investing indexes like the KLD, why do people continue to believe that sustainable investing can hurt their returns?

One reason is that investors don’t realize how much sustainable investing has changed. They still think that sustainable investing either divests from certain industries, which could limit their opportunity to make money, or it only invests in clean energy, which could add volatility. But sustainable investing is no longer limited to divestment or clean energy.

Today, sustainable strategies are more comprehensive and inclusive. They don’t just exclude companies, they also seek to include companies that have good ESG characteristics. Rather than divesting from companies that don’t make the cut on an ESG level, some asset managers will invest in these companies with the goal of improving them. These managers use their power as shareholders to engage with a company’s management team in an attempt to help the company become a better corporate citizen and a better long-term investment. This approach has had a number of successes.

Sustainability is now mainstream. Some of the largest and most successful companies are working to address the world’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) challenges. This year, 82% of the companies in the S&P 500 will publish sustainability reports compared to just 20% in 2011. That’s a huge improvement in just six years.

Mutual fund managers that don’t market themselves as sustainable or socially responsible funds are also now integrating ESG criteria into their stock selection.

An increasing number of investors are recognizing the benefits of sustainable investing, and these days investors have many new investment choices that are designed to help them try to build wealth and a better world.

Janet Brown is the President and CEO of FundX Investment Group. She manages fund portfolios for high-net worth clients and foundations. She also manages a sustainable mutual fund. Janet is a board member of several non-profits and foundations and a longtime advocate for sustainable, responsible impact investing (SRI). 

TBC Bank Wins Multiple Country and Regional Awards for Corporate and Consumer Digital Banking from Global Finance

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TBC Bank is pleased to announce that it has won awards in several country and regional categories from Global Finance. These are: the Best Consumer and Corporate Digital Bank in Georgia; the Best Integrated Consumer and Corporate Bank Site in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE); and the Best in Social Media and Best Mobile Banking App in the CEE region.

“We are honoured to receive multiple country and regional awards from Global Finance, emphasizing our superior multichannel capabilities. It is crucial for our success to continue to offer best-in-class digital solutions and we are extremely proud to be recognized as having the best integrated bank site for our consumer and corporate customers in the CEE region”, commented Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank.

“Digital Banking is here to stay, and this year’s winners illustrate the importance of relentless innovation in products, systems and services,” said Joseph D. Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance. “Corporate and retail clients expect transformative new solutions and this year’s winners consistently deliver on those expectations.”

TBC Bank has won various Best Digital Banking Awards from Global Finance each year since 2012.

For further enquiries, please contact:

Head of Investor Relations

Anna Romelashvili

ir@tbcbank.com.ge

 

About Global Finance

Global Finance, founded in 1987, has a circulation of 50,000 and readers in 193 countries. Global Finance’s audience includes senior corporate and financial officers responsible for making investment and strategic decisions at multinational companies and financial institutions. Global Finance regularly selects the top performers among banks and other providers of financial services. These awards have become a trusted standard of excellence for the global financial community.

 

About TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC PLC”)

TBC PLC is a public limited company registered in England and Wales that was incorporated in February 2016. TBC PLC became the parent company of JSC TBC Bank (“TBC Bank”) on 10 August 2016. TBC PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol TBCG.TBC Bank, together with its subsidiaries, is the leading universal banking group in Georgia, with a total market share of 30.3% of loans (or 37.8% taking into account TBC Bank’s holding in JSC Bank Republic and 33.4% of non-banking deposits (or 37.6% taking into account TBC Bank’s holding in JSC Bank Republic) as at 31 March 2017, according to the data published by the National Bank of Georgia.

Fusion Microfinance has been awarded at The Business World Digital India Summit 2017

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New Delhi-Fusion Microfinance Pvt. Ltd., a pioneer in the Microfinance Sector has been recently awarded at the BW Business World Digital India Summit 2017 for Best Usage of ICT in Rural Development. The Award was distributed by Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for IT and Communication.

Fusion stands committed towards its core value of Customer Centricity by servicing the unbanked marginalized strata of Society. In addition to extending financial services, the Company has facilitated Financial Literacy Programs and Digital Awareness Campaigns in the rural and semi urban areas contributing towards Government of India’s vision of transforming India into a digitally empowered Society.

Devesh Sachdev Fusion Microfinance CEO said, “Fusion has taken a huge stride in helping clients shift to digital payments in less than a year. We are honored to receive this award and would like to dedicate this to our rural women clients and team. We stand committed to further Govt. Drive of cash less payments.

Mr. Sachdev have been honored along with other BW digital India Award winners as Best Conducive Startup Policy for Digital India Government of Uttar Pradesh Shri G.S. Naveen Kumar, Best Implementation of Digital payments Money on mobile Jolly Mathur, Digital Leader of the year Government of Rajasthan Manu Shukla, Effective use of technology for Security and Safety  Naesya Sanjeev Kumar Maini, Health insurance initiative of the Year Government of Rajasthan Manu Shukla.

 

TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC PLC”) added to the FTSE 250 Index

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TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC PLC”) is pleased to inform shareholders of the announcement from FTSE Russell on 31 May 2017 that TBC PLC shares will be joining the FTSE 250 Index.

The inclusion will be implemented at the close of business Friday, 16 June 2017 and will take effect from the start of trading on Monday, 19 June 2017.

 

 

About TBC Bank Group PLC (“TBC PLC”)

TBC PLC is a public limited company registered in England and Wales that was incorporated in February 2016. TBC PLC became the parent company of JSC TBC Bank (“TBC Bank”) on 10 August 2016. TBC PLC is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the symbol TBCG.

 

TBC Bank, together with its subsidiaries, is the leading universal banking group in Georgia, with a total market share of 30.3% of loans (or 37.8% taking into account TBC Bank’s holding in JSC Bank Republic and 33.4% of non-banking deposits (or 37.6% taking into account TBC Bank’s holding in JSC Bank Republic) as at 31 March 2017, according to the data published by the National Bank of Georgia.

2017 Annual GIIN Impact Investor Survey

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In addition to data on investment activity, the 2017 survey explores investor perspectives on the state of the market and several current market topics (new this year), including criteria for market segmentation, the role of below-market-rate capital, and the entry of large-scale financial firms. GIIN has also included the most extensive analysis yet on the activity and perspectives of various segments of respondents.

 

  • Respondents managed over $114B in impact assets at the end of 2016
  • Impact investors plan to increase capital invested by 17% in 2017
  • Survey finds over 90% of respondents report their impact investments perform at or above expectations

http://ow.ly/UZ2S30bK7pa @theGIIN

Finance with a social conscience – Rosanna Ramos-Velita

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March 2017 – Michael Chavez

Rosanna Ramos-Velita is the epitome of a new breed of financial supremo who knows value goes far beyond the P&L, writes Michael Chavez

What was once a rare species is flourishing. In my global travels I encounter ever more financial services chiefs who have not only recognized the life-changing effect their decisions can have, they are actively targeting those positive changes as a guiding principle.

Rosanna Ramos-Velita is a leading light in microfinance. Her institution, Caja Rural Los Andes, provides working capital loans to rural Andean communities in Peru. The bank is highly profitable – the typical internal rate of return on its products is 30% – but the dividends go far beyond the commercial. This is a bank that not only delivers social good, it is driven by it.

Ramos-Velita is clear that the purpose of her bank is to eradicate poverty. That might seem too grand an ambition for a bank. Yet to Ramos-Velita it is perfectly natural. When still with Citibank, as a senior chief financial officer, she became interested in Citi’s consumer finance business, which was a highly profitable operation. The client base comprised relatively poor people taking out small loans, yet repayment rates were better than other market segments. Ramos-Velita went to Mexico to investigate, ending up in a shantytown where Citi operated some branches under a different name. The branch manager told her that most of their clients were women. “This was a good thing,” Ramos-Velita told me, “because they didn’t use the loans for consumption; rather, they used it to fund small businesses.”

Outside the branch was a small taco kiosk run by a woman busily catering to the lunchtime rush. Ramos-Velita struck up a conversation with the taco vendor and told her that she worked for the bank just behind her. The taco seller stopped what she was doing and gave Ramos-Velita a big hug. It transpired that the vendor had gained a loan from the bank for $800 that allowed her to grow her business and provide for her family. “Before the loan, she was selling tacos out of a basket,” Ramos-Velita told me. “In business terms, we’d say she had a scale problem. With the loan, she worked out in her head that she could repay the loan in a year because she could sell a lot more.” The woman got a second loan and now operates two kiosks, one run by her husband, a former cab driver. Ramos-Velita recalled: “The woman said that with this business she was able – literally – to put a roof over her head, eat better and pay to send her kids to school.”

Following her ‘hug moment’, Ramos-Velita left Citibank, put together a business plan, did some serious fundraising and got investors to help her buy an existing microfinance bank in Peru that was underperforming, both in terms of profitability and its impact on society.

Ramos-Velita’s overriding purpose to eradicate poverty became the ultimate motivator for her new employees – what more inspiring mission could a company have? Her staff now celebrate with clients when their loans help make a step-change in their lives. “We had a team that was demotivated and de-energized and we turned that around with purpose,” says Ramos-Velita. “Not only that, but we are turning around families and whole communities.”

What I took from Ramos-Velita was that a simple, clear, human-centred mission – in this case eradicating poverty – can be used to motivate employees and, thus, foster business success. She is a great mind with a winning idea.

 Michael Chavez is chief executive of Duke Corporate Education.
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