What is a Microfinance Loan?
Microfinance loans are a type of lending that help people who haven’t been able to use regular banks before. They are often given to small businesses or low-income families who need money to start or grow their businesses. In India, where many people don’t have access to traditional banking, microfinance loans have been a big help to almost 64 million borrowers. These loans provide a way for people to get the money they need to improve their lives and their communities. By giving access to credit, microfinance loans are helping people build a better future for themselves and their families.
What are the Types of Microfinance Loans?
In India, many people who are unable to access formal banking services turn to microfinance loans. These loans are typically disbursed through two models: Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Joint Liability Groups (JLGs). Furthermore, there are various types of microfinance loans available, each with their own specific purpose and benefits. Some of the most common types of microfinance loans in India include:
Income Generation Loans
These loans are intended to support the growth or establishment of small businesses or microenterprises. The loan amount varies depending on the borrower’s repayment ability and need.
After borrowers have repaid their income generation loans for 25 weeks, they may be eligible for mid-term loans. The amount available for these loans is generally the remainder of the income generation loan, and the terms of repayment are agreed upon by the borrower and the MFI.
These loans are interest-free and available to borrowers year-round to cover unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies, funerals, or other unforeseen circumstances.
These loans are provided to borrowers who require collateral and a guarantor, and are offered outside of the group lending process. A thorough evaluation of the individual’s business and cash flow is typically conducted before disbursement.
Education loans are provided to help borrowers ensure that their children’s educational needs are met.
Consumer Product Loans
These loans allow borrowers to purchase products like cookstoves, mobile phones, and solar lights, which can improve their quality of life.
Dairy Cattle Loans
These loans help individuals purchase new cattle or improve their existing dairy farming practices to increase their income levels.
Agriculture loans are available to help farmers and other individuals purchase essential resources such as seeds, fertilizers, and livestock to improve crop quality and yield.
Key Benefits of Microfinance Loans
Small Loan Amounts
One of the key benefits of microfinance loans is that they offer small loan amounts to borrowers who may not have access to traditional banking services. These loans are designed to meet the specific financial needs of low-income individuals and families and can range from a minimum of ₹ 8,000 and a maximum of ₹ 60,000.
By providing small loan amounts, microfinance institutions can help individuals to invest in their small businesses, purchase essential items, or cover unexpected expenses, all of which can help to improve their overall financial stability and quality of life. Moreover, the repayment of these small loans can also help borrowers to establish a credit history, which may help them access larger loans or other financial services in the future.
Affordable Interest Rates
In traditional lending models, borrowers with low income or poor credit history may be subject to high-interest rates and fees, making it difficult to repay the loan and potentially trapping them in a cycle of debt. Microfinance institutions, on the other hand, often operate as non-profit organizations or with a social mission and may offer interest rates that are lower than those of traditional lenders.
This not only makes it easier for borrowers to repay the loan but also helps to promote financial inclusion and reduce poverty in underserved communities. Moreover, some microfinance institutions also provide financial education and training to help borrowers better manage their finances and improve their financial literacy.
One of the primary advantages of microfinance loans is that they are typically collateral-free. This means that borrowers do not have to pledge any assets, such as property or equipment, as security for the loan. This is especially beneficial for low-income borrowers who may not have substantial assets to offer as collateral.
Easy Access to Credit
Microfinance loans offer easy access to credit for those who may not have access to traditional banking services, particularly low-income individuals. Microfinance institutions strive to make the loan application process simple and accessible, often by providing doorstep service or leveraging technology such as mobile banking. This approach helps to eliminate barriers to credit access, such as lack of proximity to a bank or limited knowledge of financial products.
Documents Required to get a Microfinance Loan
When applying for a microfinance loan, there are several documents that you will need to provide in order to be considered. These documents include:
- Two recent passport-sized photographs of the borrower that are no older than six months.
- Proof of identity for both the applicant and co-applicant, such as a PAN card or Form 60.
- Proof of address for both the applicant and co-applicant, which can include documents like an Aadhaar card, driving license, passport, voter’s ID, utility bills, lease agreement, trade license, or ration card.
- Proof of income through bank statements for the past six months, as well as Form 16, payslips, income tax or GST returns, and financial statements.
- A post-dated cheque for the loan amount of ₹ 1 lakh as security, which is applicable for Growing Enterprise Loans.
- Proof of house ownership, which is required for Solidarity Group Loans.
It is essential to provide all of these documents when applying for a microfinance loan, as they are necessary for the approval process. By ensuring that you have all of the required documentation, you can help speed up the loan approval process and improve your chances of being approved for the loan.
What can be classified as a micro loan?
Micro loans are collateral-free loans that are provided to low-income households with an annual income of up to ₹ 3,00,000. These loans can be used for any purpose and can be applied for and disbursed through physical or digital channels. As long as the borrower meets the income requirements, they are eligible for microfinance loans.
What is the limit of a microfinance loan?
Microfinance loans have a limit of ₹ 3,00,000. This means that low-income households with an annual income of up to ₹ 3,00,000 can borrow up to this amount through microfinance loans. The loan amount is typically collateral-free and can be used for any purpose.
Do microfinance loans have interest?
Yes, microfinance loans do have an interest rate.
What is the interest rate on a micro loan?
The interest rate on a micro loan can range from 2.25% to 18%, depending on the lender and the borrower’s creditworthiness. However, microfinance loans generally have lower interest rates compared to traditional loans, making them an affordable option for low-income households.
Do banks give micro loans?
Yes, banks do offer micro loans. In addition to banks, various lenders, such as credit unions and nonprofit organizations, also provide microfinance loans to low-income households.