Noida-headquartered start-up BANKIT, which is focussed on bridging the digital divide by extending financial and non-financial services to the unbanked and under-served populace, plans to on-board another 20,000 “Digi Mitras” (agents) by December 2020.

Amit Nigam, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director, BANKIT, said the company brought within its fold 4,000-5,000 banking agents/ business correspondents every month, the last couple of months.

These correspondents facilitate banking services — such as remittance, money transfer, cash out service, offer collateral free advances and insurance cover, besides non-banking services such as mobile recharge, bill payments and online purchase of stuff from e-commerce platforms - at the customers’ doorstep in rural and remote pockets.

“There are around 4-lakh villages and many of these are unbanked even today. Our mission is to cater the under-served, create financial literacy and promote rural entrepreneurs,” Nigam said.

BANKIT recorded a 23 per cent surge in digital transactions in the first six to eight weeks of lockdown, he said.

“We commenced operations in 2016; have been adding 500 to 1000 agents a month in the pre-Covid months. After taking cognisance of people’s requirements, we started the agent on-boarding process more aggressively.”

“We help people in rural and remote villages remit and withdraw cash. The cash-out service is done with the individual’s aadhaar through micro-ATMs. We have installed around 6000 micro ATMs. The hit rate has been phenomenal.”

“We also realised that during the lockdown, people ran out of cash and were running to the local money lenders for assistance. We mooted a product –“Collateral-free loan”. This has picked up in a big way. We have received loan requests for ₹15 crore, but have disbursed over ₹1 crore till now. Advances are upwards of ₹10,000 to ₹3 lakh and the tenure ranges between 3 and 6 months, depending on the amount borrowed.”

“We also offer 2-wheeler insurance cover, life and health insurance and some un-conventional insurance products. We have tied-up with various banks and a cooperative bank as well,” he said.

“BANKIT is a self-funded, zero debt organisation with positive cash flow,” Nigam said.