Ahmedabad, July 14 Affordable housing lender to under-served, low-income households, SEWA Grih Rin Ltd (known as Sitara), has raised $20 million through a mix of primary and secondary investments in tranches.

The latest round was led by Nordic Microfinance Initiative (NMI) and Women’s World Banking Asset Management (WAM) with three existing investors -- HDFC Holdings, Oikocredit and Omidyar Network Fund Inc -- also participating in the round.

Sitara raised $18.5 million in the primary round and $1.5 million through secondary transactions, a statement said.

Promoted by the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) Group, Sitara has so far attracted $34 million in capital since its commencement in 2015.

Shruti Gonsalves, MD & CEO at SEWA Grih Rin Ltd, said: "The funds raised will help us grow the loan book and expand the company's operations in newer locations, to meaningfully support women in realising their dream of owning a house of their own."

"We propose to help around 7,000 families additionally in the current fiscal by disbursing around $63 million and consequently achieve a book size of $97 million in the current financial year," Gonsalves added. Sitara was set up with a mission to provide housing to low-income women.

The company's loan book stood at $46 million as of June 30, 2022, with a customer base of around 15,000 borrowers.

"We are proud to have impacted 70,000+ lives by helping their families access good quality housing. With this infusion from NMI and WWB Asset Management, we will redouble our efforts to touch 200,000+ lives by fiscal 2025," said Gonsalves.

Arthur Sletteberg, Managing Director, NMI said, "Our investment in Sitara will be NMI’s first investment in the affordable housing segment. NMI will support the company in its efforts to reach the ambitious targets set."

Rajat Arora, Principal Investment Officer and Head of Asia - Women’s World Banking Asset Management (WWBAM) said, “We value Sitara’s impressive track record in providing financial services to underserved individuals and the empowerment potential of its offering, especially for women.”

Sitara provides housing finance to under-served and low-income households in urban and peri-urban locations, with a special focus on advancing the land rights of women in the informal sector.

Its business model combines lending with social impact - catering to a niche market of informal housing tenure or incomplete property documentation - wherein it assists potential customers make the property title legally executable. Through innovative use of alternative collateral and progressive tenure documents, SEWA Grih Rin Ltd works towards bringing these families into the fold of formal financial services.

The company provides loans in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 30 lakh for house construction, extension, purchase, and renovation. It has a network of 36 branches in eight states, including Delhi, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Haryana.

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