Winning the Trust of 3.7 Million Microfinance Customers

Ujjivan Small Finance Bank (Ujjivan SFB) started its operations as a Small Finance Bank in February 2017. Prior to which it had functioned as a microfinance company and was ranked among India’s top three microfinance operations, with 450 branches in 24 states and a clientele of 3.71 million people who did not have easy access to formal credit.

In 2015, when Ujjivan SFB got a license to convert itself to a Small Finance Bank (SFB), it had to convince its existing microfinance customers, most of them at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid, to trust its new small finance bank operation, equipped with biometric ATMs that collected deposits and doled out money at the touch of a finger.

Planning & Execution

Research and Insights: Customers needs to see a familiar friendly face
All banks compete for customers but given the small ticket business of the unserved and underserved, large full-service banks do not push hard to sign up the poorest people of India as customers. Ujjivan SFB’s research indicated that most of their customers had limited exposure to formal banking channels and found the experience extremely daunting.
Instead Ujjivan SFB committed to its customer base, financial literacy and door-step banking.

Insight: PR to propose new ways to help Ujjivan earn and build customers’ trust and help them migrate the existing microfinance customer base to their banking business.

Strategy and Creative Idea: Bringing the bank to customers – via technology
Ujjivan SFB set out to revolutionize the way banking was traditionally done in rural India from the ground up — by bringing in lessons learned from microfinancing to small finance banking. The bank ensured that the same staff served their customers in the past — they continued their microfinance services while providing full-service banking at their door-step. It equipped staff with handheld wireless devices that enabled paperless account openings and transactions.

We designed a communication strategy that would reach the largely illiterate or semiliterate customer base across 24 states in the country. We employed a wide range of tactics, including financial literacy programs, and asked a Bollywood director to make a film.

Execution: Judges, police chiefs, and Bollywood take a trip to the bank

  • Drafted announcements of each of the transformed branches and sent them to regional language media.

  • Placed educative articles to drive awareness on.

  • Local judges and police commissioners, trusted community leaders, led branch openings, enhancing Ujjivan’s credibility and fostering trust as a banking entity.

  • Partnered with an NGO — the Parinaam Foundation, Ujjivan’s corporate social responsibility arm — to organize community development programs, educational programs and financial literacy programs.

  • Commissioned a famed Bollywood director, Pradeep Sarkar, to create a film on financial literacy — in nine local languages. The film was titled “Paison ki ABCD” (roughly translated as “ABCD of Money”).

  • Radio, television, and print advertising in local languages was built around branch launches, and we leveraged regional media to drive awareness and publish educational articles on why banking products are better and safer than unorganized savings options.

Effectiveness / Results

Trust won

  • Connected with 26,000 existing and new Ujjivan customers across all four regions in India through the financial literacy program by March 2018

  • 300,000 MFI customers migrated from the MFI to Ujjivan SFB by March 2018. Additionally it was also able to attract 124,000 new customers to the Bank across 187 branches

  • Gross loan book of Rs 7560 crores in by March 2018

  • Ujjivan SFB’s overall bank deposits reached to Rs 3772 crore (March 2018) in one year of banking operations which was ZERO at the beginning of the year

  • This exercise covered 57 smaller cities and town across the country and generated 693 clips garnering 13.3 million media impressions

  • Ujjivan SFB had the highest SoV with 35% share amongst all the small finance banks during this period

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