A financial institution servicing the microfinance needs of Urban India, with a market-oriented focus. This best describes Janalakshmi ('Jana' means people and 'Lakshmi' represents wealth; therefore people's wealth).
How it all began...
Founded and promoted by Ramesh Ramanathan, Janalakshmi commenced its microfinance operations in July 2006 by absorbing the Sanghamithra Urban Programme. Indian urban micro-credit experiences are limited to a few institutions, owing to an overall lack of focus on these markets along with the complexity of operating in an urban environment. Apart from the Sewa Bank in Ahmedabad, Sanghamithra Urban Programme has been one of the pioneers of urban micro-finance in India. The promoter of Janalakshmi had been instrumental in the formation and successful operations of Sanghamithra Urban Programme as well. As Janalakshmi evolved, it was envisioned that it shall absorb the Sanghamithra Urban Programme(SUP).
SUP had been operational in the Bangalore City Area since October 2000. The program was set up with the generosity and unconditional support of Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Philanthropist and Wife of Infosys Chairman, Nandan Nilekani. SUP provided financial assistance to Self Help Group's (SHGs) by partnering with NGOs who form SHGs through capacity building and training. NGOs then link SHGs to SUP for financial assistance. Ramesh Ramanathan, along with the board members of Sanghamithra, saw the need for reliable urban microfinance institutions, because the microfinance revolution thus far had focused almost solely on the rural sector.
Pioneering Microfinance in Urban India
A focused commitment to developing new initiatives to address the economic problems of the sub-prime segment of the population - a section largely neglected...
Janalakshmi seeks to move beyond the narrow definition of micro-credit to a broad-based microfinance encompassing a range of financial services. Janalakshmi's vision is to evolve as the pioneer of direct individual-based lending to the poor outside the realm of the existing group based models and that is the base on which Janalakshmi has been built - as a sustainable business to attract social investment.
Janalakshmi plans to achieve its goal through a two tier institutional set–up: Janalakshmi Social Services (JS), a Section 25 company which initially held the entire capital of an operating subsidiary and Janalakshmi Financial Services (P) Limited (JFS). JS will operate at the social end of the financial services spectrum, providing capacity building investments to the poor. JFS on the other hand, is built on the unique concept of harnessing the strength of a market-oriented business strategy catering to a customer segment that has traditionally been outside the mainstream financial services sector.
JFS will have strategic relationships with entities directly and indirectly interfacing with Janalakshmi's customers through economic and/or social linkages. - its vision... build a robust business model that is sustainable and scalable, Janalakshmi envisages putting in place the best in class loan management system and a transaction engine that would support efficient service delivery mechanisms, as well as create a seamless information system.
JFS - structured as a non banking financial company - will be the vehicle through which financial services are delivered. Run as a professional, market driven organization, investors can invest capital and take out returns if they so desire.
To quote Chairman, Mr. Ramesh Ramanathan, "Our social conscience starts and ends with our customer being the not fully serviced or the poor as many may call them. Everything else about us is like a bank! - pioneering, innovative, deploying traditional market principles, etc."