CreditAccess Grameen Limited (formerly known as Grameen Koota Financial Services Pvt. Ltd.) was born out of the need for timely and affordable credit to India’s poor and low-income households.
CreditAccess Grameen was visualized by Mrs. Vinatha M. Reddy in December 1996, inspired by the book ‘Give Us Credit’ by Alex Counts, President and CEO, Grameen Foundation USA. The book detailed remarkable stories of Bangladesh’s poor who raised themselves out of poverty through the use of micro-credit during the microfinance movement, spearheaded by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus.
CreditAccess Grameen was founded in May 1999 as a project under the T. Muniswamappa Trust (TMT), an NGO in South Bangalore. Grameen Trust, Bangladesh, provided seed capital funding to TMT to replicate the Grameen Bank Bangladesh microfinance model.
CreditAccess Grameen adapted the Grameen Bank’s group lending methodology of microfinance to the Indian setting and launched operations in Avalahalli on the outskirts of South Bangalore. It offered collateral-free loans as well as other services to women from poor and low-income households with the aim of creating equal opportunities and inclusive development of both urban and rural poor. The loans intended to help customers raise their standard of living and break the cycle of poverty. CreditAccess Grameen steadily groomed a class of mature and financially literate women entrepreneurs who began to outgrow the group lending model.
CreditAccess Grameen targets women because they are an integral part of the family, community and country’s socio-economic environment. It has been observed that women tend to use resources more productively, so improving financial access for women may increase their participation in the family’s and the community’s development.
In 2007, the microfinance activities of CreditAccess Grameen was transferred from NGO to a well-regulated and registered Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC), which subsequently got reclassified into a regulated and governed Non-Banking Financial Company – Micro Finance Institutions (NBFC-MFI) entity by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in 2013. Grameen Koota continues to be the operating brand name of CreditAccess Grameen Limited (formerly known as Grameen Koota Financial Service Private Limited).
CreditAccess Grameen offers a multitude of both financial and non-financial products and services to cater to the life cycle needs of its customers. CreditAccess Grameen products are subject to periodic modifications based on feedback from customers and input from staff.