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Microfinance Now: Bindu Ananth

In this interview Bindu Ananth, President of IFMR Trust, discusses an innovative approach to wealth management for poor and low income households that is being rolled out in rural India. The approach involves highly customized financial advice that tries to match a household’s financial situation and aspirations with the right products—savings, loans, and insurance—at the right time. By going into largely unserved areas of India, IFMR Trust is able to let the strategy play out over time, without being concerned about competition from financial providers with different philosophies or strategies. While the model assumes certain preconditions, such as the existence of large financial institutions that can provide many of the services such as insurance policies, as well as relying on the availability of good broadband connections for cost efficiencies, Ananth nonetheless argues that the model is relevant for other countries. At the most fundamental level, she says, the fact that the engagement with the customer is not defined by the product but instead in terms of the wellbeing of the customer is a universal issue, and one that would resonate with many providers globally.

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