Money & Banking

MFIs still shying away from hiring field staff

G. Naga Sridhar Anjana Chandramouly Hyderabad/Bangalore | Updated on November 17, 2017

MFIs graphics

Cautious also on branch expansion

Microfinance institutions are still wary of expanding field staff even as the business environment is improving.

The microfinance sector, which is slowly limping back to normalcy post the AP crisis, is cautious on branch expansion. This is expected to slow their recruitment as well. “The sector is now heading towards stabilisation. Generally, the focus is not on recruitment,” Mr P. N. Vasudevan, Managing Director, Chennai-based Equitas Microfinance, told Business Line. Before October 2010, the microfinance industry was among the largest rural employment providers with about 1.50 lakh youth working for it, according to Microfinance Institutions Network (MFIN) data.

Of this, major MFIs had about one lakh field staff spread over 10,000 branches.

This was scaled down drastically later due to the crisis in Andhra Pradesh. “We don't have exact data for 2011-12 yet. But field staff numbers shrank compared to the previous year,” said Mr Alok Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, MFIN.

But with improvement in ground realities and funding, MFIs are now looking for non-AP expansion without big increase in field staff.

For instance, MFIs like Bangalore-based Grameen Koota are now looking at growth but in existing locations only.

“We don't plan to expand our geographies,” said Mr Suresh K. Krishna, Managing Director, Grameen Koota.

Hiring, too, would only be for refilling vacant positions, he added. Mr Samit Ghosh, Managing Director, Ujjivan Financial Services, said that his company would hire 270 field staff to fill up existing vacancies.

SKS Microfinance reduced its employee strength by 31 per cent to 17,845 as on December 2011 from 25,735 in the year-ago period.

According to company spokesperson, SKS has no major plans for hiring except in small numbers for non-AP operations.

>nagsridhu@thehindu.co.in

>anju@thehindu.co.in

Published on March 29, 2012

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