Microfinance

Microfinance serves as one of the most successful tools to alleviate poverty in Bangladesh. Microfinance programs have successfully dismantled the traditional lending culture formerly prevalent in Bangladesh, and have driven economic growth in grassroots spheres. SAJIDA Foundation has been part of this monetary revolution for the last two decades through its Microfinance Program.

SAJIDA Foundation started its microfinance activities in 1993 with only 4,798 members. In September 2005, the SAJIDA signed a partnership agreement with the country’s leading microcredit funding and capacity building organization: Palli Karma-Sahayak Foundation (PKSF). SAJIDA Foundation has also built partnerships with commercial banks to finance increased demands for its microfinance program. As result of PKSF’s continued support, the SAJIDA has been able to vastly expand its microfinance programs.

Today the Foundation’s Microfinance Program supports over 262,584 members and their families in 18 districts of Bangladesh – Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Narshingdi, Jamalpur, Chittagong, Munshiganj, Comilla, Chandpur, Noakhali, Feni, Pabna, Sirajgonj, Bogra, Kustia, Kishorgonj, Brahmanbaria and Manikgonj. With 188 branch offices, 1782 staff and a cumulative loan disbursement of BDT 48,881 million, the program has come a long way since its inception.

In revising microfinance services to remain sustainable in the long run, our dynamic world obligates that one be versatile and innovative. Product and implementation structures need tailoring if they are to meet the needs of dissimilar communities. This adaptability is crucial if socio-economic initiatives are to a have lasting impacts on a population’s well-being. Accordingly, SAJIDA Foundation’s microfinance program offers the following loan products: Rural/Urban Microcredit (Jagoron), Microenterprise (Agrosor), Migration, Employees Welfare, Ultra-poor (Buniad), and Seasonal Agriculture (Sufolon). Other supplementary loan products, offered to existing borrowers, include: Seasonal, Education, Emergency, Health, Disaster, Family, and Festival loans. A more extensive depiction of the different types of microfinance packages available follows:

Microcredit

SAJIDA Foundation’s micro-credit program is implemented through a group model whereby members form groups of five and subsequently form centers composed of roughly six groups. Credit Officers hold weekly meetings to undertake transactions and processing. Target families are identified on the basis of sex, age, and household income, after which interested persons are invited for group discussions on SAJIDA Foundation’s microcredit products and regulations.

SAJIDA Foundation’s micro-credit program is collateral-free.

Micro-enterprise Loan (Agrosor)

Available to both men and women, the micro-enterprise program provides services on either a group or individual basis. Most members are recruited through surveys, with the majority of loans given on an individual basis. A small number of micro-credit borrowers’ graduate from the micro-credit program to become micro-enterprise program members. The micro-enterprise program offers enterprise loans to entrepreneurs seeking to enlarge their businesses. A minimum of 2 years business experience, a visible venture and the businesses’ potential to generate employment are the primary requirements to qualify for a micro-enterprise loan.

Loan amounts range from BDT 50,000 to BDT 2,500,000. A guarantor’s signature is required for all micro-enterprise loan agreements. Micro-enterprise members are required to save BDT 200 per month in addition to the mandatory initial savings of 2.5% of the loan amount.

Supplementary Loans

Supplementary loans are offered to existing borrowers in order to equip them to face unexpected emergencies and safeguard their families. Supplementary loan products include seasonal, educational, emergency, disaster, family, and festival loans. The Education Loan is given with an amount of up to BDT 15,000, repayable through 10 monthly installments. Our Emergency Loan is provided for health and other emergencies. The loan amount can be up to BDT 5,000 and is repayable through a single installment after a four-month grace period. Our Seasonal Loan is given on short-term basis. There are two types of Seasonal Loans, one for agricultural purposes and another for trading. Seasonal loans for agriculture cater to challenges built into the life cycle of different crops. Seasonal loans for trading provide relief to experiencing periodic market fluctuations; some of these financial spikes and slumps occur annually, and even predictably. Examples include having to “stock up” prior to major festivals or offering new amenities at a time when clients are fasting. The Seasonal Loan amount can be as much as BDT 60,000, repayable within 3 to 9 months via monthly installments. The Disaster Loan is disbursed to Jagoron members immediately following a disaster to recover losses and allay emergency expenditures. The loan amount can be up to BDT 5,000 at 8% interest and is repayable through 40 weekly installments. The Festival Loan is awarded before religious festivals. The loan amount can be up to BDT 5,000 repayable within four months in monthly or single installments. The Family Loan is allotted for the purchase of home appliances, furniture, and other household goods. The loan amount is BDT 30,000 repayable in 24 monthly installments.

Migration Program

Remittances from migrant workers are the number one source of foreign currency in Bangladesh. In 2014 alone, migrant workers earnings amounted to USD 15 billion. Currently there are approximately 10 million migrants employed abroad—while a million more join their ranks annually. In many cases, however, this relocation overseas comes at a great cost. Countless hopefuls, interested in livelihoods abroad, are unable to navigate a complicated and costly emigration process. The majority of those who successfully migrate subsidize the effort by selling land and property, or by borrowing funds from unofficial sources at exorbitant interest rates. These rates can exceed 200% at times. A significant portion of aspirants never succeed in emigrating and lose their money to illegal agencies or middle men. Recognizing these barriers, in 2015 SAJIDA Foundation developed a program to offer a safe and transparent labor migration process from Bangladesh to higher income countries. Core elements of the program are: (i) Pre-migration Counseling; (ii) Visa/work permit/document verification to avoid frauds; and (iii) Customized loan assistance for pre and post-migration costs.

This multifaceted program certifies the entire migration process is more accessible and secure for migrants. Implemented through its microcredit branches, the pre-migration counseling and documents verification process aims to expressly reduce visa related forgery. The customized loan is specifically designed for prospective/returnee migrant needs. It is a joint ownership loan provided to cover visa and airfare outlays for prospective migrants, and to defray living and education costs incurred by his/her family members residing in Bangladesh.