Enya & Banking

Definitely two words that I would never have put together, and yet here I am at the NDTV/WIPRO Vision 2020 conferenece listening to the sounds of Enya being blasted over the pulsating laser & smoke machine show to introduce the first segment. Yes, you heard that right 1995 style laser show. It conjured up memories of the old Illuminations show at Epcot center....

The content of the conference has been interesting, The central theme is, What will the India banking environment look like in the year 2020?. After the first session - the need for focus on microlending is apparant - as is the need for commercial banking to figure out how is can be succesful in the rural segment here in India. Some interesting learnings - of the 120 million people employed in India, only 27-30 million are with an organized company. That means 4/5s of the population are earning in the gray economy.

As you can imagine this presents a concern to traditional lenders - what collateral can be offered by these people? One presenter certainly impressed me- the charasmatic Virkram Akula of SKS Microfinance. His company has lent more than 1 billion unsecured across india - primarially to woman - who may lack literacy. Their default rate? Less than 1%