Guwahati, June 17 (IANS) Tata Trusts Chairman Ratan Tata and Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday launched the first 28 branches of the North East Small Finance Bank (NESFB), the region’s first small bank.

“If India has to grow as a prosperous place, we need to create opportunities and entrepreneurship,” Tata said at the function here.

The Tata Trusts Chairman, through the investment arm RNT Associates, has invested Rs 40 crore in the bank.

“Most of us who have seen the growth and prosperity in India have to admit that it has been easy for borrowers to find funds to grow. However, there is a vast number of people in India who have been either under served or not served at all and finance is not available.

“I wish the bank every success and the Tata Trusts has been very happy to participate and play a role in spreading prosperity to millions of people who do not have access to funds and the opportunity,” said Tata.

RGVN (North East) Microfinance Ltd got the Reserve Bank of India’s Small Finance Bank license on March 31, 2017 mandating it to carry out banking services in remote and “unbanked” areas of the eight states of northeast India, as well as in West Bengal and registered a public limited company by the name of North East Small Finance Bank Ltd.

“We are starting with 28 branches and will soon add another 80 branches. After that (we plan to) have branches in all the northeastern states,” the bank’s Managing Director Rupali Kalita said at a press conference earlier in the day.

The North East Small Finance Bank Ltd which has a net worth of Rs 300 crore is supported by infusion of funds from domestic and overseas investors.

“During the years of operation RGVN (NE) MFL got equity investment and able support from Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI), the North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd, Opportunity International, Australia (through DiaVikas Capital Pvt Ltd (India), Brahmaputra Community Development Trust, Norways’s Nordic Microfinance Initiative, and Oiko Credit Netherlands,” a bank official said.

Fresh equity for strengthening the capital base to promote the banking company was received from the SIDBI as well as SIDBI Venture Capital, RNT Associates Pvt Ltd, Pi Ventures LLP, Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company, Nordic Microfinance Initiative, and DiaVikas Capital.

–IANS

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